MRPC News Release

For immediate release
Feb. 10, 2016

For more information, contact
Bonnie Prigge at (573) 265-2993 or

Recently 31 Belle High School students successfully completed WorkKeys testing and were presented with National Career Ready Certificates. Assisting with the presentation of certificates were (front row) Bonnie Prigge, executive director of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission; Cheri Tune, director of Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Certified Work Ready Communities program; Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze, who also serves as president of the Gasconade Valley Enterprise Zone and the Maries County CWRC committee; and Belle High School Counselor Chris Feeler. Students earning certificates were (second row left) Chase Jacquin, Dalton Brooks, Dalton Elrod, Savannah Wilson, Jacqueline Haffer, Michal Melzer, Emily Koch, Corina Struemph, Lindsey Kluesner, Alexis Cooper, Victoria Hollingworth; (third row from left) Haley Price, Max Butler, Mathew Heflin, Noah Devine, Kever Donze, Dalton Durbin, Joe Moman, Bryan Wolfe, Logan Prigge, Gabrielle Scott; (back wow from left) DJ Lepper, Castin Woolley, Mike Cook, Dylan Gorrell, Jacob Abel, Dalton Ridenhour, Evan Thierry, Dylan Pyrtle, Wyatt Maddison and Cassandra Lock.

Belle High School students receive National Career Ready Certificates

BELLE, MO—Some 31 juniors and seniors at Belle High School successfully completed Work Keys testing and were presented with ACT’s National Career Ready Certificates (NCRC) recently.

ACT WorkKeys is a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire, train, develop, and retain a high-performance workforce. This series of tests measures foundational and soft skills and offers specialized assessments to target institutional needs.

Successful completion of ACT WorkKeys assessments in applied mathematics, locating information, and reading for information can lead to earning the National Career Ready Certificate, a portable credential earned by more than 2.3 million people across the United States. Currently 67,000 Missouri residents hold NCRC credentials.

The NCRC is the key measurement in Missouri’s Certified Work Ready Communities initiative. In 2012, Missouri was selected as one of the first four states to participate in the Certified Work Ready Communities (CWRC) initiative by ACT. Now 24 states are participating. The national initiative was developed to close the skills gap by aligning workforce-training programs with the economic development needs of communities. Free WorkKeys testing for those who are 18 and older is available at Missouri Career Centers.

Thanks to special funding through the Missouri Department of Economic Development Division of Workforce Development, Maries and Gasconade counties were able to test juniors and seniors at their schools.

Maries County Presiding Commissioner Ray Schwartze, who also chairs the Maries County CWRC and the Gasconade Valley Enterprise Zone, presented the certificates to Belle students and commended them for “going above and beyond,” as the WorkKey test is not a required test.

High School Counselor Chris Feeler made WorkKeys a voluntary test, and explained and outlined the benefits of the certificate. Every student who was asked to take the test agreed.

BHS Principal Danielle Tuepker pointed out that the WorkKeys testing would help the school on its Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) standards.

Also on hand for the certificate presentations were Cheri Tune, the CWRC director for the Missouri Department of Economic Development, and Bonnie Prigge, executive director of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC). MRPC assisted the Gasconade Valley Enterprise Zone in securing the grant and helped BHS staff coordinate testing.

"We are very proud of these students for obtaining this credential,” said Tune. “Earning an NCRC not only demonstrates these students have the foundational workplace skills employers are looking for, but also the motivation and initiative, which is necessary to succeed in the workplace."


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