The Madison County Workforce Readiness Credential program, a partnership between employers in Madison County, local schools, and the Community Improvement Corporation, prepares high school seniors to enter the workforce while they earn a certificate that guarantees an interview with a participating company. The Madison County Workforce Readiness Credential was introduced to all high school seniors in the Madison County school districts during the 2014-2015 school year, and four students graduated in May 2015 from the program.
As part of the Workforce Readiness Credential program, participating students must tour a local business, serve 20 community service hours, attend one job fair, take part in a mock interview, and complete the skills assessment test through OhioMeansJobs during the application process.
Once enrolle, the students are guided through a program focused on a variety of soft skills, including strong commitment to attendance, a commitment to service, communication and writing skills, etiquette, time management, teamwork, and attitude. Beth Fogelsong, a career connections coordinator at Tolles Career & Technical Center, said Madison County employers thought they would be able to train future employees on technical skills, but not the soft skills covered in the credential program.
The credential also recognizes a student’s work experience in high school and the attainment of a high school diploma or GED. Upon completion of the credential, Tolles enrollees receive an iPad.
Although the program is in the beginning stages, Fogelsong said she believes the exposure to members of the business community will help students foster relationships that will benefit their careers.
“Students look at members of the business (community) as their peers and do not feel as intimidated by the industry in general,” she said.
Kent Dell, executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, affirmed the Workforce Readiness Credential.
“This program is important to economic development because there are needs that businesses have, and right now that is to hire motivated individuals who know what it means to be a good employee,” Dell said.
“We’re working to address needs in our community by preparing our students for the workplace.”