Across high schools, there is plenty of preparation for college, from ACT and SAT practice to college essay tutorials. But what about preparation for the workforce?
For students still deciding if college is the right fit, and for those looking to go directly into the workforce, the National Career Readiness Certificate is a valuable resource that helps young adults land fulfilling jobs and increase their earning potential. Since the National Career Readiness Certificate is neither widely known nor discussed, we've decided to dive a little deeper into the subject. Read on for more valuable information to share with your students, college-bound or otherwise!
According to the ACT (American College Testing), which issues the National Career Readiness Certificate, it is “an assessment-based credential issued at four levels [that] measures and certifies the essential work skills needed for success in jobs across industries and occupations.”
The National Career Readiness Certificate is used by employers to vet job candidates that have come directly from high school as well as those coming from the collegiate world because it is considered a credible predictor of job performance. It is earned through the passing of a standardized test assessing the the skill sets necessary to successfully perform a wide range of jobs in various fields.
While The National Career Readiness Certificate can be included on resumes or job applications for any job, it is considered a key component is many broader credential systems, including the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and others in the fields in construction, information technology, and energy.
Above all, the National Career Readiness Certificate is widely known and accepted. If your students are skeptical about its importance or value, you can tell them that more than 2.3 million certificates have been issued since they were introduced in 2006!
You can find more on National Career Readiness Certificate curriculum on the ACT website, but in short, The National Career Readiness Certificate is earned through the completion of three ACT WorkKeys assessments, each of which is research-based:
- Applied Math
- Workplace Documents
- Graphic Literacy
Across these three disciplines, the following skills are assessed:
- Problem solving and critical thinking
- Reading and utilizing texts commonly found in workplaces
- Solving problems using workplace documents
- Solving workplace problems using mathematical logic, reasoning and skills
- Correctly performing mathematical calculations as they would arise in various workplaces
- Finding, synthesizing, comparing, summarizing, analyzing, and applying information presented in one or multiple graphs
Levels of proficiency
The National Career Readiness Certificate is awarded at four different levels, based on the scores achieved for each assessment:
- Platinum: Scores of level 6 or higher on all exams, which reflects skills required for roughly 99% percent of the jobs listed in the ACT JobPro database.
- Gold: Scores of level 5 or higher on all exams, which reflects skills required for at least 93% of the jobs listed in the ACT JobPro database.
- Silver: scores of level 4 or higher on all exams, and reflects skills required for at least 69% of the jobs listed in the ACT JobPro database.
- Bronze: scores of level 3 or higher on all exams, which reflects skills required for at least 93% of the jobs listed in the ACT JobPro database.
The benefits of the National Career Readiness Certificate apply to job candidates and employers alike.
First of all, the National Career Readiness Certificate is particularly useful for students who do not want to attend college, as it provides them a verifiable (and quantifiable) measurement of skills. This certificate is also a great placeholder for students who may want to attend college but are currently unsure of where to attend and what to study, but who want to join the workforce while taking the time to decide on next steps.
Beyond students right out of high school, the National Career Readiness Certificate is also beneficial for students who are are attending college or have graduated college, but who do not yet have workplace experience. Because of the emphasis placed on workplace readiness, a graduate with no experience but possessing the National Career Readiness Certificate will be more appealing to potential employers. Additionally, individuals re-entering the job market after a significant amount of time may also find that they get an extra boost from the certificate.
Whether you are working with students who are going to college, those that are content with a high school diploma, or a few straddling that fence, it's worth bringing up the National Career Readiness Certificate. Though often glossed over in discussions about post-high school endeavors, it remains a great option for students, whatever their post-high school path may be.