GTRLINK, EMCC and Area High Schools Ink WorkKeys Grant Program Agreement


 Golden Triangle, Mississippi – On Friday, September 30, 2016, the Golden Triangle Development LINK, East Mississippi Community College and six school districts in the Golden Triangle signed a memorandum of Understanding providing funding and support for the implementation of the WorkKeys assessment for high school juniors and seniors.

“The GTR LINK’s Early Workforce Initiative contains several goals to build a qualified workforce pipeline for continued development,” said Macaulay Whitaker, VP of Internal and External Affairs at the GTR LINK. “WorkKeys assessments in high schools and becoming a certified ACT WorkReady Community are two that we’re tackling head on, with great results.”

For two years, these groups in the Golden Triangle have piloted the WorkKeys program. The agreement outlines responsibilities and expectations in exchange for grant funding to make the assessment a sustainable part of the career options offered at the high school level in the Golden Triangle. The agreement provides $5,000 to each high school annually, through 2020.

"Work ready community is not just economic development, it is community development, jobs for our students, leading to family sustaining income, that leads to pursuit of The American Dream,” said Dr. Raj Shaunak, VP for Workforce and Community Services at EMCC.
High schools currently administering the assessment include: Caledonia High School, Columbus Christian Academy, Columbus High School, New Hope High School, Starkville High School, West Lowndes High School and West Point Career and Technology Center.

The GTR LINK Early Workforce Initiative has set a goal of testing 500 students annually by 2020, with 70 percent of those scoring a Silver or higher.

“WorkKeys has become a major part of the responses we’re issuing to companies during the recruitment process,” said Joe Max Higgins, Jr., CEO of the GTR LINK. “This is a win for students getting an opportunity to better their career, and a win for our efforts to continue to attract jobs.”

To view the agreement, click here.

About The GTR LINK:
The Golden Triangle Development LINK is the regional economic development organization for Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties. Located in northeast Mississippi, the LINK’s current record of investment totals $5.4 billion and more than 5,800 jobs.

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