Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Governor Perdue Launches Be Work Ready Program

/PRNewswire / -- In tough economic times, it is more important than ever for unemployed Georgians to embrace life-long learning opportunities and improve their core job skills. Governor Sonny Perdue today announced the launch of Be Work Ready, a program designed to help unemployed Georgians jump start their job search, develop confidence and gain a competitive advantage in the job market.

Be Work Ready is a one-of-a-kind initiative providing unemployed Georgians a monetary incentive for either earning a Work Ready Certificate or improving their skills through free, online Work Ready skills gap training. Funding for the initiative is provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

"Georgia is leading the nation in workforce development and is committed to helping our citizens develop the skills that serve as the foundation to a successful job search," said Governor Perdue. "Be Work Ready is meant to inject confidence into Georgia's unemployed population, cultivating a skilled and qualified workforce for business and driving economic development throughout the state."

When an individual earns a bronze, silver or gold level Work Ready Certificate, they are eligible for a $50 incentive; those who earn platinum are eligible for $100. When an individual improves their Work Ready Certificate level in any way, they are eligible for a $100 incentive. The incentive, in the form of a gift card, can be used to offset job search expenses.

Be Work Ready is available to those age 18 or older who are currently unemployed and have earned a Work Ready Certificate and/or improved their Work Ready Certificate level through skills gap training. Those who have earned a Work Ready Certificate since Sept. 1, 2008 are also eligible to apply. Individuals answer a short questionnaire and fill out an application form at www.begaworkready.org to qualify.

Job seekers can also post their Work Ready qualifications at www.begaworkready.org and select a target industry where employers throughout the state will be able to access this information and contact candidates about available jobs.

A Work Ready Certificate, powered by ACT's nationally accredited WorkKeys(R) assessment system, validates an individual's skill and knowledge levels to potential employers. Individuals take the free assessment and earn a certificate at one of four levels - platinum, gold, silver and bronze. Free, online skills gap training helps individuals improve their Work Ready Certificate level.

"The certificate tells employers that Work Ready Certified job seekers possess the skills necessary to hit the ground running and are ready to take on more challenging tasks," said Debra Lyons, director of the Governor's Office of Workforce Development. "By closing the skills gap and increasing life-long learning in Georgia, employers will have a long-term pipeline of skilled and educated workers to take on today's jobs and tomorrow's innovations."

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