the Northland Education & Business Alliance: quality education in the Northland of Greater Kansas City

Northland Businesses Getting Aboard CWRC Hiring Advantages

Northland businesses are beginning to utilize a new hiring aid that provides a quick and easy method for sorting applications.

The Certified Work Ready Communities program measures basic skills of current and future workers in order to provide employers an easily comparable yardstick for measuring applicants. Kristie Stuewe at First Missouri Bank in North Kansas City was among the first to use the system while hiring a new teller.

“It took a job that could have taken much longer and made it more efficient,” Stuewe said. “Basically, it did the prescreening for me.”

The program includes a three-hour ACT certification test that measures three critical skill areas for almost any job applicant: applied mathematics, locating information and reading information. The results are grouped into four categories: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The first level, bronze, indicates test takers score at least a level three in each of the core areas and that they have the necessary foundational skills for 16 percent of the jobs in the ACT list of workplace skills. Platinum scores indicate at least a level six in each of the three areas and foundational skills for 99 percent of the jobs in the list.

“It’s a great tool,” Stuewe said. “I would definitely recommend it.”

Dr. Chris Lake, director of the Excelsior Springs Area Career Center and a member of the Northland Education and Business Alliance (NEBA), said the program is designed to give both employers and applicants a common “language” for skill assessment. “This assures employers that an applicant has the skills necessary to function in the workplace,” Dr. Lake added. “Employers will know that they don’t have to train them for basic skills to function in the workplace.”

NEBA and the Clay County Economic Development Council are promoting the effort for several reasons. “If a business wants to come into Clay County, they can look to see if we have a certain amount of people who are certified,” Dr. Lake added. “That tells them there are people who are looking to work who are employable. Workforce skill is a huge factor for employers.” Students taking the test represent virtually every high school in the area, from Platte City to Excelsior Springs.

The Clay County Commission also adopted the program for use in county hiring.

More information is available by calling the Clay County Economic Development Council at (816) 468-4989 or online at

Clay County Economic Development Council
7001 N Locust ST, Gladstone MO 64118
816-468-4989 |

Platte County Economic Development Council
11724 Northwest Plaza Circle
Kansas City, MO 64153
816-270-2119 |

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