Are your employees truly ready to work?

Even in a tough economy, forward-looking manufacturers constantly have an eye on steps they need to take to grow the workforce of the future. One way to begin building a talent pipeline is to recognize – and even encourage – the Florida Ready to Work credential as you hire, train and promote.

Ready to Work is a “FREE” training, testing and credentialing program aimed at building career readiness skills like applied math, reading, and locating information (which is using and interpreting workplace graphics like charts, floor plans, gauges, etc.). Since these are critical, sought-after foundational skills, the National Association of Manufacturers recommends mastery of these skills prior to jobseekers and employees working toward manufacturing-related certifications like the Certified Production Technician (CPT) certification. Depending on scores on proctored tests, individuals can earn a credential that shows employers they have the right skills for the job – a useful tool for applicant screening purposes and, later for workforce development.

Beyond screening, 400+ employer partners across the state are using Florida Ready to Work in a variety of ways such as:

• Testing -- Supplementing or replacing current employee assessments and pinpointing strengths and development needs in the workforce.

• Training/Courseware -- Using the free online courseware to build work (and life) skills of the current workforce, showing measurable results.

• Job Profiling -- Making more objective, informed promotion decisions. Using an EEOC-compliant job profiling process, employers can identify the skills and skill levels employees need for success in higher level roles.

The FRW program enjoys widespread participation, and is being implemented by school districts and companies across Florida. On a local level, approximately 10 schools have adopted the FRW program within Hillsborough County School District; five from Sarasota County School District, nine from Pasco County School District, and three each from Pinellas and Polk County School Districts. Statewide, Brevard County School district leads the way with more than 4000 candidates from 50 schools participating in the program, and earning the FRW credentials.

Local companies using the program include Pepperidge Farms, PGT Industries, Denny’s Restaurant, Shands Jacksonville, and Busch Gardens. For more information, or to view a full list of community colleges, adult education, technical centers, regional workforce boards and/or community based organizations throughout Florida that have adopted the FRW program, visit www.floridareadytowork.com, or contact Sharon Albrecht, business services director at 941.914.0046, or salbrecht@floridareadytowork.com.

Contributed by our partners at Florida Ready to Work.