Texarkana College and Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce Team Up to Offer National Career Readiness Certification Assessments to Boost Regional Economic Development Efforts


Texarkana College and Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to lead the community into becoming an ACT Work Ready Community (WRC) and help empower our region with data, processes and tools that drive economic growth. To help obtain WRC status, the Texarkana College Testing Center has become an assessment site for the ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate® (NCRC). The assessments measure an individual’s working knowledge of applied mathematics, graphic literacy, and workplace documents. The community, in turn, can become a WRC by meeting testing quotas for its workforce and having businesses incorporate the certifications into their hiring processes.

Camille Powell, Program Manager for Workforce Development with the Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce, said individual assessments help with the Chamber’s efforts of building a WRC for our region.

“The WRC model is a community-based framework for workforce development, education and economic development,” said Powell. “Counties are certified as “work ready” when specific goals have been met.
The goals are based on individuals within the regional workforce earning the nationally recognized ACT® WorkKeys® certificate and local employers agreeing to recognize or recommend the WorkKeys® NCRC in their hiring process. Within the Texarkana region, we are gaining ground with local employers who are ready to support the process.”

Powell said locally, administrators with Graphics Packaging Inc., Domtar, AEP SWEPCO, and Ledwell have shown interest in recognizing the importance of the NCRC endorsement and the benefits for economic growth and sustainability.

Powell said it is a benefit to our region for Texarkana College to be a qualified assessment site.

“With the growing interest and support from our local businesses and industries in recognizing the importance of becoming a WRC, the convenience of having a nearby assessment site at Texarkana College is so valuable,” said Powell. “We are collaborating with hiring managers and local school districts to share information about the NCRC WorkKeys assessment with potential employees and their students and the benefits of earning a credential.”

Dr. Jason Smith, Texarkana College president, said the initiative benefits current employers needing qualified workers and helps drive regional economic development efforts.
“By adopting the WRC mindset as a leverage for economic growth, our community has a unique opportunity to validate our ability to provide reliable and capable workers,” said Dr. Smith. “This is a vital component for regional economic stability and for development of new industry into our area.”

Smith said regional employers can help drive the initiative by simply recognizing and recommending that their current and future workforce take steps toward becoming NCRC certified.

“Participating communities across America are leveraging the ACT® WorkKeys® NCRC to measure and close the skills gap of their regional workforce and to build common frameworks that link, align and match their economic development efforts,” said Smith. “By working towards this status, we will be able to demonstrate to business and industry site selectors looking to expand operations that we have a robust workforce development effort aligned to their company’s needs.”

The Texarkana College TRIO program, Student Support Services (SSS), already utilizes the NCRC WorkKeys curriculum to help prepare students to enter the workforce after college completion. Tonja Blase, Director of SSS, said they encourage students to study the curriculum at their own pace and take the assessments before graduation.

“The curriculum provided by WorkKeys is invaluable in preparing students for workplace literacy and skills that they will need to excel in the workplace upon graduation,” said Blase. “We highly recommend the process to our students to give them a leg up on competition when it comes to landing a job. We are lucky to have a testing center right on our campus where students can easily go for assessment.”

TC’s testing center can offer testing for both students and members of the community. Kathy Smith, Director of Testing and End-user Technology at TC, said each of the three WorkKeys assessments takes about an hour to complete.

“Individuals who are ready to take the assessments can schedule an appointment with the Texarkana College Testing Center or are welcome to test on a walk-in basis during business hours,” said Smith. “You may schedule an appointment to test by calling 903-823-3278 or email: testing.center@texarkanacollege.edu. The cost for the three assessments is $50.00 or $15 per assessment for retest.”

Smith said ACT WorkKeys Assessments is one of the many community and professional credentialing exams offered at TC’s Testing Center.

“We are proud to be the premiere testing site in our region for a vast number of national and state assessments and certification exams,” said Smith. “Chances are if you need to take an exam or assessment to satisfy a career requirement or credential, you will be able to take the test at your convenience on the TC campus. We strive to accommodate our regional employers and individuals needing access to a qualified testing site close to home.”

The Testing Center is proud to offer the following exams: A2 (HESI) Exam, ACT, ASE Automotive Service Excellence Certification Exam, GED, ISO-Quality Testing for various industries, Exams offered through Pearson Vue, Prov, PSI True Talent / PSI Atlas, SAT, Southwest Tow Operators, TCEQ Computer-based Testing for Occupational Licenses, Texas Commission on Fire Protection, and THEA IBT.

The Texarkana College Testing Center is located in the Palmer Memorial Library/Academic Commons building on the Texarkana College campus at 2500 N. Robison Road, Texarkana, Texas. Find more information about the TC Testing Center online at https://www.texarkanacollege.edu/academics/registrar/testing-center/ or call 903-823-3456. For more information about WRC, visit https://www.workreadycommunities.org/.

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