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With Governor's Help, Clay Celebrates Status as State's Largest CWRC County

September, 2016

Clay County recently became the largest county in Missouri and one of the largest in the U.S. to earn Certified Work Ready Communities recognition. Governor Jay Nixon made the announcement to over 100 leaders of business and education who gathered at iWerx in North Kansas City Aug. 2.

“This sends a clear signal to the people who want to invest here that we have what it takes to succeed,” Gov. Nixon said. “This is an important step.”

Economic Development Council Executive Director Jim Hampton said CWRC is one of several goals Clay County is pursuing as part of its Strategic Plan. He cited everything from the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) to the recently announced branch of Missouri University of Science and Technology in Gladstone. Even the business incubator iWerx plays a role.

“We’re creating an environment where a high school student can have an idea, find high quality and affordable space, get startup capital and create a business,” Hampton said.

Also speaking was Dr. Bill Nicely, superintendent of Kearney schools and co-chair of the Northland Education and Business Alliance. Clay County Presiding Commissioner Jerry Nolte introduced Gov. Nixon and noted that Clay County is the first major metropolitan county in Missouri to earn certification.

“This is something we can all be proud of,” Nolte said.

Developed by the testing organization ACT, CWRC creates a common language for employers and employees in order to improve competitiveness and close the skills gap. Current and future employees voluntarily take a rigorous test that measures their basic work skills for 77 percent of the jobs in an ACT database. Prospective employees gain a portable, industry-recognized credential that clearly identifies an individual’s skills while employees gain a trusted method for assessing applicants.

Clay County officials Tuesday accept Certified Work Ready Communities recognition from Gov. Jay Nixon. Those present included (from left) Jerry Hickey and Dr. Bill Nicely of Northland Education and Business Alliance (NEBA), Jim Hampton of the Clay County Economic Development Council, Gov. Jay Nixon, Cheri Tune of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Sam Lodhi of the Clay County Economic Development Council and Dr. Chris Lake, director of the Excelsior Springs Area Career Center and a member of the NEBA.

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