act workKeys

By JAMES EVANS
Rutherford County Schools

Evelynn Douglas, admittedly, doesn’t like being praised for her accomplishments.

On Tuesday morning, in a packed room of industry leaders, educators and county leaders at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Smyrna, it was announced that Evelynn — a senior at Holloway High School — was the only student from her school to earn a perfect score on the ACT WorkKeys exam.

And you can guess how she reacted.

“I basically just blushed and hid my face,” Evelynn said. “I like working hard and I like achieving my goals but whenever people praise me, I hide my face.”

Evelynn’s perfect score on the exam earns her a platinum level certification from ACT, which means she has been deemed work-ready for more than 99% of the jobs the ACT program has profiled.

In short, multiple employers in Rutherford County are going to want to talk with Evelynn when she graduates in a few months.

“I think a lot more doors will be open to me that I wasn’t sure would be open for me before,” Evelynn said. “That will definitely help me make my decision (about a career).

At the event, Rutherford County Chamber partners also announced their pledge to become a certified ACT Work Ready Community, demonstrating its commitment to developing a strong workforce pipeline, desirable to employers, economy developers and citizens of the county.

Part of that initiative involves students taking the WorkKeys exam to determine their level of preparedness to enter the workforce. Students can earn a bronze, silver, gold or platinum level.

Holloway High School is the first school in Rutherford County to participate with the exams as part of the Chamber’s new initiative, although others will soon follow.

“We did it because a lot of our kids are not planning to attend a four-year college,” Holloway Principal Sumatra Drayton said. “So the ACT WorkKeys makes it worth our while.”

Holloway tested all of its seniors — about 70 students — and of those, 44 earned one of the four designations.

The following is a list of the students and the certification level each earned:

BRONZE

  • Jakeyia Alexander
  • Caleb Ashford
  • Alex Braden
  • Jamarion Buchanan
  • Joseph Chapman
  • Brianna Cox
  • Braden Daugherty
  • Somer Davis
  • Kennedy Doss
  • Cristian Fernandez
  • Hunter Harris
  • Leyah Herrod
  • Miracle Knox
  • Ethan Lannom
  • Tiara Lewis
  • Kyle McCullough
  • Abigail McKinley
  • Zachary Mulcahy
  • Samara Simmons
  • Cortney Springer
  • Nathaniel Steinhurst
  • Tiara Talley
  • Diego Valencia
  • Samantha Wilcox

SILVER

  • Christian Bushman
  • Natalie Casper
  • Essence Garner
  • Natecia Gooden
  • Cora Luper
  • Sergio Marcial-Lopez
  • Aaliyah Morales
  • Ethan Owenby
  • Carlee Poteet
  • Catherine Scott
  • Jacob Smitty
  • Jade Swoner
  • Jacqueline Thomas
  • Jazmyne Wade

GOLD

  • Joseph Brafford
  • Brook Breece
  • Zachary Grubbs
  • Gabriella Palacios

PLATINUM

  • Evelynn Douglas
  • Tyler Hollis

In addition to the student certifications, Rutherford County is also recruiting businesses as WorkKeys partners.

The ACT Work Ready Communities initiative empowers states, regions and counties with data, processes and tools that drive economic growth by identifying skills gaps and quantifying the skill level of their workforce. Participants leverage the ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate to measure and close skills gaps and build common frameworks that link and align their workforce development efforts.

For more information about Rutherford County’s initiative, contact Beth Duffield at 615-893-6565 or visit https://www.workreadycommunities.org/TN/149


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