By Gina Smith
Tests in each county would identify need, Haley says
Gov. Nikki Haley outlined a new jobs-training program Thursday that, if enacted, would use data to match potential workers with businesses in every county.
South Carolina is one of four states recently accepted into a pilot jobs project by ACT, a national nonprofit most known for its college readiness exam.
Representatives from ACT, the governor’s office, the state’s technical schools and the state Department of Education will meet next week to work out details of the new program, expected to take about a year to implement.
ACT would be paid for the testing. However, it has not been decided yet who – workers, counties or the state – would pay for the testing.
The program would:
- Encourage high school graduates, unemployed workers and underemployed workers to take tests, administered by ACT, that will assess their math, verbal and other job-related skills. The tests would be administered at technical schools across the state. Workers already can take the tests, called the WorkKeys Assessments, at the state’s technical schools.
- Officials in each of the state’s counties would use the test results to determine the strengths and weaknesses of workers in their county and use that information as a guide in creating new jobs-training programs. Workers also can qualify for ACT credentials that prove they are qualified to perform certain job tasks.
- Companies also will use the test results to find prospective workers.
During a news conference, Haley said it will be the first time that all counties, state agencies and businesses have worked off the same set of data to identify job-training needs and job opportunities.
“This is going to allow us to be surgically involved in the unemployment rate,” Haley said.
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