Peter Kiewit Foundation awarded Heartland Workforce Solutions (HWS) $50,000 for one year of general operating support in June, 2017. HWS is a non-profit organization that partners with over 15 area agencies to promote and develop a workforce system that is responsive to the needs of businesses and career seekers with economic prosperity as the goal.
“We are a collective impact organization who brings the agencies who serve workforce needs together to provide a more systematic approach to meeting the needs of both businesses and career seekers,” says Alejandro Sinecio, HWS manager of workforce performance.
HWS partners with area businesses to identify skill requirements for employment openings as well as connecting them with qualified workers. They ensure that job candidates possess a literacy level and the basic math skills necessary for gainful employment. On the other end, HWS service providers support individuals as they pursue their career paths by providing a variety of resources to ensure success: interest and aptitude assessments, coaching, job search assistance, training and attaining educational and employment credentials.
One tool that helps HWS connect workers with businesses is the ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). It is an assessment-based credential issued at four levels, measuring and certifying essential work skills needed for success in jobs across industries and occupations. To be a nationally recognized ACT Work Ready Community, individual counties meet criteria based, in part, on how many businesses recognize the NCRC and the number of individuals who have passed the assessment. Douglas County is 67 percent of the way toward their goal with 75 businesses and 1,247 individual assessments. HWS staff expects that Douglas County will meet the criteria to be recognized as an ACT Work Ready Community by March, 2019.