Lunenburg County Community Leaders officially announced Tuesday, April 30, 2019, that Lunenburg County has been named the 7th county in the State of Virginia to become a Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC). The announcement was made at 2 p.m. at Benchmark Community Bank. This initiative has been guided by key community leaders such as our County Administrator, Board of Supervisors, Economic Development Planner, Lunenburg County Public Schools, our Chamber of Commerce, and most importantly our local businesses and workforce agencies. The initiative aligns workforce training programs with the economic development needs of our community and matches applicants to jobs based on their skill levels. Moving forward, this effort will also strengthen businesses by strengthening the workforce.
The group gathered heard from various speakers and partners in the effort. Tracy Gee, Lunenburg County Administrator, welcomed those gathered. Mike Hankins, Lunenburg Board of Supervisors recognized special guests that were present. Charles Berkley, Superintendent of Lunenburg County Public Schools spoke about the school system’s role, stating that, “Communities that prioritize the workforce readiness of their residents and students position themselves for economic growth.” Dr. Megan Healy, Chief Workforce Development Adviso
r to the Governor, applauded Lunenburg’s efforts and spoke to the importance of a qualified workforce. Neil Burke, CFO of Benchmark Community Bank, noted that the certification will help Benchmark as an employer to objectively determine an employee’s qualifications. Glen Millican, Lunenburg County Economic Development, applauded the initiative and requested that school officials thank our teachers who are on the front lines everyday educating our future workforce. Dr. Julie Brown, Institute for Advance Learning and Research, noted how excited she was that Lunenburg had achieved this accomplishment in just a year’s time.
The focus of this initiative is for students and residents to achieve Work Ready Community Certification through the ACT National Career Readiness Certification program. This certification measures a person’s workplace skills in three areas: Reading to gain information, such as from directions and instructions; applied math, such as working with figures; and locating information in various sources. This certification focuses on a person’s productivity, dependability, ability to work in team, ability to work with customers, and management potential. According to officials, those skills are useful in many types of jobs in various fields, from office employees to manufacturing workers, and from entry-level staff to supervisors. Some companies now require their employees to have the certificate even if they have a college degree. Having CWRC designation shows existing and prospective businesses that “our workforce has the skills needed for them to locate and expand in Southern Virginia.”