2009-06-03 / News

Job seekers may be rewarded

By Anne Marie Kyzer annemariek@thetruecitizen.com

Those looking for work have a chance to be rewarded for their efforts and possibly improve their odds.

Gov. Sonny Perdue announced last week the launch of the Be Work Ready program which offers incentives to Georgians who earn Work Ready Certificates or complete skills training.

The incentives, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, come in the form of gift cards.

Unemployed individuals ages 18 or older may receive a $50 gift card when they earn their Work Ready Certificates by taking free skills assessments administered at Georgia's technical colleges. The certificates are awarded at four levels. If someone scores at the highest level when they take the test initially, they may receive a $100 gift card. Those who improve their certificate levels are eligible for a $100 gift card as well. Free, online training is available to help individuals raise their scores.

Aside from the monetary incentive, the Work Ready Certificates may become an increasingly popular tool for applicants hoping to land a job, according to Augusta Technical College's vice president of economic development Lisa Palmer.

"What has really driven it is companies asking applicants to bring their assessment score," Palmer said. "This initiative just gives folks one more reason to go ahead and do this. We expect that more and more companies will start using these scores. Why wouldn't they? It's a free way for them to know where people are functioning."

Augusta Technical College is offering the assessment at all three of its campuses in Waynesboro, Augusta and Thomson.

ABOUT THE CERTIFICATE

In order to receive the Work Ready Certificate, an individual must take three computer-based tests that cover reading, math and the ability to locate information. The tests, each about 50 minutes long, do not all have to be taken at one sitting. A fourth test that gauges work ethics and talents is also available but not required.

Scores are available immediately from the college and are valid for five years. Certificates are issued by the state through the mail.

The next assessment at ATC's Waynesboro campus will be administered Monday, June 15, at 9 a.m. For an appointment, call Teresa Evans at 706-437-6801 or send an email to tevans@augustatech.edu.

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