Adams County and Concordia Parish become First Multi-State ACT® Certified WorkReady Region.

May 10, 2017


Adams County and Concordia Parish become First Multi-State ACT® Certified WorkReady Region.

May 10, Natchez, MS & Vidalia, LA- Local officials announced today the completion of the required goals to become the first ACT Certified Work Ready Region to cross state lines.  This nationwide initiative by ACT will help improve the quality of our regional workforce.  This program links, aligns and matches a community’s workforce development efforts among the employer, the future employee and education institutions. Counties and parishes can now identify skills gaps and quantify the skill level of the community’s workforce by using the results of the WorkKeys® assessment.  Educators can build career pathways that are aligned to the needs of the community’s business and industry. 

“To be able to say that the Miss Lou Region has met the goals set by ACT to become a Certified Work Ready Community is a testimony to the spirit of teamwork and commitment of which our community can be very proud.  Obviously, we recognize that when the workforce improves, everything improves.  Even as we celebrate the hard work and dedication that it has taken to reach this national benchmark, we are looking forward to not only sustaining but to surpassing this point in our campaign for workforce excellence.  New goals will continue to be set and met, and the current and future citizens of our community, our region, and our states will enjoy the benefits for generations to come.” said Ruth Nichols of Alcorn State University.

The certification for our region is based on individuals within the workforce (current, transitioning and emerging) earning a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), and the area employers recognizing the NCRC credential in their hiring processes.  Since the launch of this program in our area in 2015, more than fifty employers in the Miss Lou region recognize the WorkKeys® Certificate for future applicants and current employees.  Over 1,000 WorkKeys® assessments have been administered to a variety of potential employees including graduating seniors at area high schools.

“Achieving this goal proves that the Miss Lou is committed to changing our workforce development program.  We no longer work within our own silos, but now work in conjunction with our partners to create a cyclical process to meet the needs of the employer and the workforce,” said Heather Malone, Director of Concordia Economic Development.

The NCRC is a nationally recognized credential of essential workplace skills that enables individuals to document their readiness for a career.  Natchez, Inc., Alcorn State University and Concordia Parish Economic Development officials join together with our elected officials, area citizens and industries to celebrate this momentous achievement. 

Our area now has the opportunity to build on its certified status and strengthen its position as a desirable location for new and expanding businesses and can document its efforts to maintain growth in workforce development. The “maintaining” status, will involve ACT® issuing new goals for our individual county and parish to be met every two years.  This will include job profiles, continued employer support and residents taking the WorkKeys® assessment.

“We are truly excited about reaching our goal of becoming a Certified Work Ready Region.  It has been a lot of hard work, but we are confident that the effort will pay dividends to our existing employers by streamlining hiring practices, cutting costs and reducing turnover.  We are equally confident that the certification and the supporting data will aid in our business and industrial recruitment efforts.  We have a qualified workforce in many areas and can support this claim with data,” said Chandler Russ, Executive Director of Natchez, Inc.

Becoming an ACT Certified Work Ready Region allows Adams County and Concordia Parish to stand out and be recognized for its workforce development efforts.  The initiative was launched in the Miss-Lou Region in September of 2015, thus beginning the process of getting employer buy-in and support as well as educating individuals on the value of obtaining the NCRC credential.  The Miss Lou Work Ready team is pleased to now have employers supporting this effort in the Miss Lou Region, and proud of our workforce earning the NCRC.

For the business and industry of Adams County and the surrounding area, using the NCRC as a tool for hiring provides an economic advantage by minimizing the cost to hire and train employees due to excessive turnover.  The practice will properly link the employee’s current skill level with the skills required for an employer’s job posting.

Becoming certified is only the beginning.  The region must now reach new goals within two years in order to maintain the certified status of a Work Ready Community.  These goals include active participation and support from our business community as well as an increase in earned NCRCs.

In addition to Natchez Inc., Alcorn State University and Concordia Economic Development, we express thanks for the support of these organizations that played a vital role in this achievement:  Adams County Board of Supervisors, Adams County Christian School, Cathedral School, City of Natchez, Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, Central Louisiana Technical and Community College, City of Vidalia, Concordia Chamber of Commerce, Concordia Parish School District, Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Delta Charter School, Delta Regional Authority, Louisiana Works, Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce, Natchez-Adams County School District, Natchez NOW, Trinity Episcopal School and WIN Job Center-Natchez.


About Natchez, Inc.

Natchez Inc. is Natchez, Vidalia and Adams County’s lead economic and community development agency. Our staff is engaged in providing services to small businesses, major and future employers and the workforce in the region. Our mission is to serve existing and new businesses and industries – all with the goal of improving the quality of life and economic well-being of area residents. For more information, visit the Natchez, Inc. website at


About Concordia Economic & Industrial Development

Concordia Economic & Industrial Development District has been established for the primary purpose of promoting and encouraging economic and industrial development. In achieving its purpose, CEIDD will stimulate the economy by renewing existing, and by attracting new commerce & industry. This will ultimately develop natural & human resources in the area by providing job opportunities.

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