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National Career Readiness Certificate – Five Million Certificates Earned


Today we celebrate an exciting milestone: more than five million ACT® WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificates® (NCRCs®) have been earned since 2006. The NCRC is a nationally recognized credential that validates foundational workplace skills by measuring a range of hard and soft skills relevant to any occupation, at any level, and across industries. The employment and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have only exacerbated the urgent need (for employers, current employees, high school students, work-based learners, the unemployed, and job seekers alike) to recognize this portable, evidence-based credential.

People earn a NCRC by achieving a score of three or higher on ACT® WorkKeys® assessments in Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents. Score levels determine whether an individual earns a Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze NCRC, allowing job seekers to demonstrate they're fit for a particular job, and helping employers hire the right people for the right jobs. Scores can be used in hiring and advancement decisions, as well as to track employees’ growth in skills over time.

Whether it’s the next phase of education, a new career, or a transition from current work, the NCRC can open the door of opportunity for anyone looking to grow and advance.

How the NCRC Helps People Achieve Workplace Success


John Hodge, a maintenance technician at Mercedes-Benz, credits ACT WorkKeys as one of the main reasons he was able to secure his job.

“One of the sections of WorkKeys is reading for information. That’s the most important part of my job – going to the HMI, finding out what the fault is, why the robot is down, why the line is stopped. If I didn’t do this well on the WorkKeys assessment, I would not have made it. It was vital for me to do a good job on [the assessment].”


For Lindsay Moore, manufacturing technician at Click Bond, Inc., earning a Platinum NCRC expanded her career opportunities within her company.

“I’m very surprised at where I’m at [sic]. I have more opportunity to move forward within this company, within this career, within this field, and it comes back to the NCRC. I have my associate’s degree and other certifications, and I’m continuing to go to school. Click Bond zeroing in on the NCRC and looking at my scores and looking at my aptitude gave them enough information and confidence to put me in a position that I would never have thought I was capable of.”


According to Oswego County News, high school student Nolan Gardenier credits his NCRC as a key to future success.

“It prepares me for my career and it shows that I’m ready for what I want to do. I don’t want to go to college. I want to go out and work. It’s going to make that easier and it’s going to expand my career options.”


How the NCRC Helps Employers & Communities


The NCRC is a powerful tool for businesses as well. It allows an employer to align skills needs to employee training, or close skills gaps in their workforce. Over 25,000 employers support the NCRC and recommend its use in hiring practices and other human resource functions.



Each January, Site Selection magazine publishes Regional Workforce Development Rankings and a “State of the States” report to demonstrate the climate of workforce development, of which the NCRC is an important component. Site selectors, workforce developers, and businesses alike rely on this valid and reliable data to understand the quality of the workforce in a particular location.

Last year, ACT had the pleasure of interviewing Editor-in-Chief Mark Arend in a Ready for Work podcast episode about Site Selection and the workforce development climate. Give it a listen if you are interested in understanding why an organization would choose to invest millions of dollars in one area of workforce development over another.

At ACT, it is our mission to create thriving workforce ecosystems that foster economic growth. What sets ACT Workforce Solutions apart is our understanding of the workforce environment and unique solutions that support the success of the community.



Workforce development is truly a community effort, but today we celebrate the five million individual NCRC certificate earners. We’re thrilled to celebrate your success, and can’t wait to see where your credential will take you!

Learn more about the NCRC here.

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