Madison County recently received a designation that lets businesses knows the county is open for business and full of people ready to work.

The Madison County Economic Development Authority announced this week that Madison County has met all criteria to become a certified ACT Work Ready Community. This achievement caps the two-year engagement process and begins a two-year growth and maintenance phase to retain certification. 

 The ACT Work Ready Communities initiative is designed to assist a particular area, region or state in developing its workforce pipeline to provide skilled workers for employers. The framework allows each participating community to quantify and improve the skill levels of its workforce through a standardized workforce skill credential—the ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate —supported by data updated online by ACT on a monthly basis.

At quick glance, this designation lets businesses and industries know what workforce resources and assets are available to them, as well as helping individuals, policy makers, educators and developers understand the strengths and needs of their area.

“We are proud of Madison County’s designation as a Work Ready Community, which recognizes successful efforts by the community, education and business leaders to strengthen workforce training and development in order to meet the economic development needs of our community,” MCEDA Executive Director Joseph P. Deason said. “This certification proves that Madison County citizens are highly-educated and skilled across all industry segments.”

The initiative was led by the Madison County Economic Development Authority and Holmes Community College, along with the Madison County Business League and Foundation, Madison County Community Trust, WIN Job Center, Madison County Public School District and Canton Public School District.  

“I am proud that Madison County has chosen to pursue the Work Ready Community initiative, and I am happy that Holmes Community College could partner with the county and assist in reaching the goals to become Work Ready,” Dr. Mike Blankenship, vice president of workforce development at Holmes Community College, said. “This will position Madison County to better compete for important economic development projects and create opportunities for our county citizens to have the best quality of life possible.”

This credential is an industry-recognized "standard of achievement" that aims to identify proficiency in three key areas for landing jobs in reading for information, applied math and locating information. It also follows anyone who has received a certificate if they move.

“We congratulate Madison County for this significant achievement, and we are proud to add them to our growing list of certified ACT Work Ready Communities,” Tony Garife, ACT regional manager, workforce initiatives, said. “The progressive thinking and positive action demonstrated by county leadership shows an enduring commitment to growing the economic success of the area. As a result, local residents will begin seeing the important linkage between education and workforce development and the value of matching people to jobs.”