IowaWorks seeks support from county for skill-level tests
IowaWorks is promoting the National Career Readiness Certificate test that supplies a score for job seekers’ standardized skill levels.
Monday, Susie Drish from IowaWorks asked the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors to show support for the initiative, and the county as an employer, begin using the test scores as another tool in the hiring process.
“We are promoting this initiative,” said Drish. “NCRC is a standardized, national program from the ACT college exam company. It has three test areas and it allows employers to know an individual’s skill set and level of expertise before hiring.
“We’re asking employers to sign an initiative saying it’s a good idea, and show support,” said Drish.
Supervisor Dick Reed said since the item on the agenda didn’t include taking action, they could not sign an initiative of support Monday. It was discussed and agreed to sign the initiative as individuals, not the board of supervisors, later this week.
Information on the ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate website, www.act.org/products/workforce-act-national-career-readiness-certificate/ describes the tests and program further: NCRC is a portable credential that demonstrates achievement and a certain level of workplace employability skills in Applied Mathematics, and Locating Information, and Reading for Information. In the future, ACT Career Credentials powered by ACT WorkKeys is an expanding program that will offer certifications in other areas.
Individuals can earn the NCRC by taking three WorkKeys assessments:
• Locating Information
• Reading for Information
WorkKeys assessments measure “real world” skills that employers believe are critical to job success. Test questions are based on situations in the everyday work world.
“I appreciate the board of supervisors’ support of this program,” said Tracy Vance, director of Fairfield Economic Development Association.
County engineer Scott Cline reported the railroad crossing at 205th Street was reopened after being closed by the railroad for more than two years. The crossing has flashing lights and a moving-arms gate.
“Next week, we’ll have an agenda item for the railroad to install flashing lights and automatic gates at the crossing with Tangerine Avenue,” said Cline. “All the installation will be paid by the railroad and federal money. The county’s only cost will be if signs need to be replaced or newly installed on the county portion of the road approaching the crossing.”
Reed said he’d like to include traveling to those two railroad crossings on the afternoon road tour. About once a month the supervisors and Cline drive portions of the county roads to visually check conditions.
“I’d also like to see Mint Avenue today,” Reed said Monday. “And I’d like to see the lime chips and chloride Davis County has used on some roads.
“I’d like to do a test section of road; I’d like Scott [Cline] to check out the costs,” said Reed. “It may be an option for roads that have turned back to gravel.
“And I’d also like to drive out past Cambridge [Investment Research] and see how the salt is set on the road and if there are slippery spots,” he said.
In other business, the supervisors approved Amanda Beasley’s hire in the county treasurer’s office. She will work part time through the end of March, and then be full time.
“The board of supervisors approves personnel decisions to place the names in our [meeting minutes’] archives,” said Reed. “The departments do the actual interviewing and hiring.”
Reed reported the committee overseeing the Southeast Iowa Multi-County Solid Waste Agency landfill reorganized for the new year and he is re-elected chairman.
Reed said the landfill is operating well and recently made a cost-saving move.
“Landfills have all kind of garbage dumped into them and as things settle, liquid — or leachate — drains from the garbage,” he said. “By law, leachate must be processed through a wastewater treatment plant otherwise it could contaminate groundwater. When the landfill started up, the leachate was hauled to Iowa City for treatment.
“Now, we’ve begun hauling the liquid to Hedrick, just 15 miles down the road, and at a lower price than what the treatment plant in Iowa City charged,” said Reed. “So we’ll experience savings there.
“No tax money is used to run the landfill, it is self-sufficient.”
Supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt sits on the county substance abuse committee and reported it had recently met with the Fairfield school board about a good conduct study.
“We had a good discussion,” he said. “We want to create a facilitative partnership about tobacco, alcohol and drug use with the school district.
“We need to change adults’ attitudes to change kids’ attitudes,” said Dimmitt. “We also talked about binge drinking.”
Audience member Jack Ritz said his remarks might be offensive to some people, but he had heard from other county residents and he wanted to convey public opinion.
“Regionalization for mental health services could be leading to other state goals,” he said. “I’ve heard they want to reduce the number of counties by half.
“And someone who has worked at the state [level of government] and now works at the county level shouldn’t push things through that were worked on at the state level,” said Ritz.
Dimmitt said it is beneficial to the supervisors and county residents to have the third supervisor, Becky Schmitz and her level of expertise [in mental health and state government].
“I’m just saying other people’s opinion I’ve heard,” said Ritz.
“Becky [Schmitz] is an invaluable resource,” said Dimmitt. “We all bring different things to the table. I don’t see it as pushing an agenda. Dick [Reed] brings experience from his previous work.”
Schmitz said she would not have gone through the process of campaigning and election if she were not interested in what the county wants.
“She has contacts and background and has helped this board be more educated,” said Dimmitt. “We aren’t always going to agree with one another.”