Richard L. Ferguson, CEO and Chairman of the Board, ACT, Inc. (Aug/Sep 07)
Helping Firms Relocate and Expand
WorkKeys is used widely across the country, it allows for interstate
use by companies looking to relocate or expand. Some examples follow:
Indiana Department of Workforce Development has brought national
industries to the Hoosier State for years through federally funded
services available at its network of WorkOne employment centers. It
offers pre-commitment packages for companies looking to relocate. This
involves dispatching a job profiler to an existing company plant,
determining the skill level needed for specific jobs, and assessing and
matching highly skilled residents to the jobs before the new Indiana
plant has opened. One example is Autocar, which relocated to
Hagerstown, Ind., while the state assisted with hiring and training
more than 200 employees. The plant became profitable 18 months after
"We've been pretty aggressive in working with
companies that are seeking to expand or locate in Indiana, offering a
wide array of economic and work force development tools and services,"
said Andrew Penca, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce
Development. "We have found that the WorkKeys system provides us with a
very efficient and effective tool to assess a company's work force
Likewise, the North Carolina Community College System
has attracted industries to its region - and encouraged others to grow
- via its New and Expanding Industry Program, which includes funding
for the WorkKeys system. The state-funded program is designed to bring
high-skill, high-wage jobs into the state using work force development
services at each of the state's 58 community colleges.
addition, the program offers skills training for North Carolina
residents, helping them boost their skill levels and matching those
needed by incoming industries. "We use WorkKeys as a funneling system
to help new and expanding companies find the best skilled candidates
from a large number of potential candidates," said Maureen Little,
senior regional director with the North Carolina Community College
companies such as PGT Industries have taken advantage of the New and
Expanding Industry Program. In 2006, the manufacturer of
impact-resistant windows and doors began working with the North
Carolina Community College System while relocating to a larger facility
in Salisbury, N.C., hiring new employees and promoting incumbents using
the WorkKeys system. The company profiled four technician, shipping,
and receiving jobs and used employee selection and skills training to
fill positions, all utilizing the WorkKeys system.
out the red carpet," said Stacy Smith, training generalist with PGT.
"They offered pre-designed training packages, as well as customized
training, and it's free training for us. If you have internal training
programs, they'll reimburse you for that. And the caliber of
individuals we've hired using the WorkKeys system is far higher than
when we were without it."
PGT accepts Career Readiness
certificates from job applicants when hiring and offers training for
incumbent employees to receive a certificate. The process offers a
morale booster for employees, while expediting the hiring and training
processes. "With WorkKeys, every person we hire can easily grasp
training concepts because they already have those base skills," Smith
The $370 million company plans to double its growth in the
next five years, with more than 1,000 employees expected to work at its
North Carolina facility. "WorkKeys will be an integral part of that
step for all hiring and promotions," Smith said.
of programs like WorkKeys and Career Readiness certificates is further
evidence of the importance of the availability of skilled labor when
making a relocation or expansion decision.
Note: ACT is an
independent, not-for-profit organization that provides more than a
hundred assessment, research, information, and program management
services in the broad areas of education and work force development.
Each year, ACT serves millions of people in elementary and secondary
schools, colleges, professional associations, businesses, and
government agencies, nationally and internationally. ACT has offices across the United States and throughout the world.