Pickens County is now among the ranks of Certified Work Ready Communities, sending a strong message to prospective job creators about the skills of the county’s workforce.
South Carolina Certified Work Ready Communities are certified by ACT based on four criteria: the National Career Readiness Certificate, business support, high school graduation rate, and soft skills.
The Pickens County Adult Learning Center, under the leadership of Dr. Mary Gaston, was instrumental in helping the county earn certification.
“Pickens Adult Education has been helping individuals earn National Career Ready Certificates through the WorkKeys Assessment program for over 10 years,” Gaston said. “When the Work Ready Communities Initiative was launched 2 years ago, we were honored when asked to serve on the county's task force. This has been a wonderful opportunity to work as a team with other partners such as Alliance Pickens, Tri-County Technical College, and the Pickens County Career and Technology Center, and an even better opportunity to help Pickens County become a stronger community.”
“Alliance Pickens, the School District of Pickens County, and Tri-County Technical College work arm in arm on matters pertaining to workforce development,” said Ray Farley, executive director of Alliance Pickens. “By virtue of our having direct input from economic development and education, we were able to complete our requirements for the program in August of 2014, ahead of 90% of other South Carolina counties.”
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) praised Dr. Gaston’s accomplishment in a letter, saying, “Earning this designation is truly indicative of the dedication you and your staff have to demonstrating that Pickens County has a ready workforce that is skilled, productive, and globally competitive, as well as preparing individuals entering the workforce for future needs.”
Superintendent Dr. Danny Merck said, “Our mission as a district is to prepare students for college, careers, and citizenship. Achieving Certified Work Ready Community status is a huge signal of how prepared our students are for future careers. Dr. Gaston has done an amazing job in helping our county earn this distinction.”
- School District of Pickens County Press Release