McPherson County Commission gives support to ACT Work Keys

By Chris Swick
December 15, 2015

McPherson County Commissioners gave their backing Monday to the work being done within the city of McPherson to become recognized as an ACT Work-ready Community.

Kaci Morales, Executive Director of the McPherson Industrial Development Company, presented the program to the commission, which aims to have local businesses recognize the ACT Work-Ready Certificates that high school graduates earn to prove their readiness for certain jobs out of high school. McPherson USD 418 is requiring the class of 2016 to receive at least a silver certification on the ACT Work Keys to graduate.

“We are hoping that our employers will recognize this certification and they will have the first opportuny to hire these students,” Morales said. “We don't want other communities to snatch them up. We want to keep them here.”

Morales says the benefit to having McPherson become a Work-Ready Community for her is that she is able to quantify the work force for potential industries looking to locate in McPherson and McPherson County.

Commissioner Ron Loomis says that Chemstar tried to implement such a program a few years ago to little success.

“But that's been eight years ago,” Loomis said. “It was hard getting it off the floor because the high school wasn't supporting it at the time. [Hutchinson Community College] was trying to get it started and going.”

The commission did vote 2-0 to recognize the effort to get county businesses to support and use the ACT Work-Keys program in their hiring practice, though they did not implement it themselves, as they want to work toward updating job descriptions for the various jobs in the county before they take that particular step.

Commissioner Keith Becker was not present at Monday's meeting.