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By Tracey Kelly, Missouri Enterprise Area Business Manager

One of the things I hear frequently on my client visits is the constant workforce issues that prevail for our manufacturers.  “I can’t find qualified, motivated, skilled workers,” they tell me.  Unfortunately, I hear it almost daily as I’m in the field meeting with Missouri manufacturers.

Of course there’s no magic bullet or pixie dust to solve the issue of finding quality workers, but there are things manufacturers can do to improve their hiring success, both when bringing in new employees and when promoting from within.  One of those things is to consider the value of utilizing the National Career Readiness Certificate®.  Job Seekers & students can earn an NCRC free of charge at any Missouri Job Center.

The NCRC is composed of three WorkKeys® assessments that measure skills critical to on-the-job success across industries and occupations:  

  • Reading for Information. Measures the skills people use when they read and use text in order to do a job.
  • Applied Mathematics. Measures the skills people use when they apply mathematical reasoning, critical thinking, and problem-solving techniques to work related problems.
  • Locating Information. Measures the skills people use when they work with workplace graphics. 

NCRC is an effective tool used for screening, hiring and promotion, as well as for fulfilling training needs for existing employees. The assessments are developed by ACT®, the same company you know and trust for the ACT college admissions testing.  Missouri employers can access the NCRC program at no cost.    

Here’s how you take advantage of NCRC Testing for your company:

  1. Contact your nearest Missouri Job Center to learn more.  They’ll help you assess your job requirements and attach minimum score requirements commensurate with your hiring needs. [Call 1-888-728-JOBS (5627) to be routed to your area office.  Learn more online at
  2. Consider making the NCRC part of your hiring process. 
  3. Direct applicants to the Missouri Job Center to earn an NCRC. (Applicants who take the test will have already shown you a level of motivation to work!)
  4. Review applicant scores for use in making your hiring decisions.

Of all the government assistance programs out there, this is one that has real potential to help your company.  If you’ve been having trouble hiring quality workers with the basic skillsets you need, I urge you to look into the benefits of NCRC.  It won’t cost you anything to give them a call.

Read future issues of the Missouri Enterprise newsletter for “Help Me Find Good People!” Parts II and III.