CentreREADY debuts workforce initiative

STATE COLLEGE — The Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County and the leaders of Centre County’s five public school districts and two career/-technical institutions recently launched a collaborative workforce initiative designed to help build a better local workforce.

CentreREADY represents a community response to local workforce needs, better matching Centre County employers with employees who possess the desired core skills and competencies needed to fuel a 21st century workforce.

As it is nationwide, the workforce skills gap is a concern for Centre County employers. After meeting with numerous businesses across industry sectors, the CBICC’s Business and Industry Partnership Committee found that core skills and technical skills were often cited as lacking in the local workforce.

“The CBICC was resolved to respond to the workforce needs of employers here, to find ways in which the community could begin to address the issue,” Vern Squier, CBICC president and CEO, said in a statement.

Squier said that buy in and support from the county’s educational institutions was essential to the success of the initiative.

After spending several months discussing the scope of the initiative with education leaders, the group formally launched Centre-READY.

In implementing Centre-READY, the educational institutions pledge to provide 21st century workforce skills experiences as part of their curriculum offerings in their respective institutions, focusing on six specific core attributes.

Squier said CentreREADY recognizes that each institution has its own way of assessing proficiency in these core skills. It’s the designation and its emphasis on the six core attributes that resonates with employers.

For students who sign up for CentreREADY, earning the designation will be akin to earning the local business community’s seal of approval.