Boone County earns Certified Work Ready designation

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COLUMBIA – The Missouri Department of Economic Development announced Wednesday that Boone County is Missouri’s newest Certified Work Ready Community.

The official designation means Boone County is part of an initiative that helps communities connect employers with potential workers.

The announcement was made during a ceremony at the Regional Economic Development Inc. main office in downtown Columbia.

­­­­Mike Downing, the director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, said the initiative markets people to get better jobs, reduces the risk of hiring for businesses and demonstrates the marketability of the workforce to the community.

“The workforce quality is the number one consideration for existing companies to expand, or new companies to relocate. It’s also critical in attracting entrepreneurs,” he said. 

In order to achieve certification, 881 workers and 112 businesses in the Boone County area had to pass a test that demonstrated skills such as reading comprehension and finding information.

“By providing the means of assessing individuals’ skills, we are giving job-seekers in our community the means of discovering their own opportunities, both for employment and personal growth,” said Boone County District I Commissioner Karen Miller.

The assessment also gives employers tangible, standardized measures of evaluating potential employees.

Missouri now has 38 fully certified counties under the initiative.

“Every time a business comes to town, they want to know what the workforce is like. We knew we had the quality workforce, this just helps certify that,” Miller said.