Callaway County public school superintendents reaffirmed their commitment to promoting Missouri's Work Ready Communities program when they met Tuesday with Gary Jungermann, presiding county commissioner.
According to Jungermann, that support is extra vital because the county is very close to meeting its goals.
"About two years ago, Bruce Hackmann and I got together about the Certified Ready program," Jungermann said. "We spoke with the state on goals we needed to reach."
Hackmann is the county's economic development director.
Those two years ran out at the end of 2016, and Callaway County came up short. Most notably, according to the ACT Work Ready Communities website, 24 more Callaway County businesses need to sign a document signifying they recognize the Work Ready certification.
Jungermann and Hackmann applied for and received a six-month extension of the deadline.
"We got an email last year from the state saying we met the testing requirements," Jungermann said.
He estimates within two to three months, Callaway County will meet its goals and receive a Work Ready Community certification from the state.
The superintendents' job in all of this is promoting the program to students at their high schools.
"Their role and that of their principals is to help get the message to kids who are more interested in learning trades and aren't going to a four-year college that this is another tool for their toolbox," Jungermann said.
After taking the test, which is a variation on the ACT with a focus on practical, trade-oriented skills, individuals receive a score and are assigned a bronze, silver, gold or platinum certification. This indicates to employers the certified individuals are knowledgable and are likely to be good employees.
"What we do is this: our high school will get kids to take the work ready test, especially if they're interested in trade jobs," said Bryan Thomsen, superintendent of North Callaway R-1 School District.
He said last year, a group of high school students took the test in his district, and they plan on administering this again this year.
"We think this is a great idea and we're 100 percent in favor of it," Thomsen said.