Bowie County launches ACT Work Ready Community Initiative

TEXARKANA, Texas - There's a new push to enhance the workforce ready pipeline in the Texarkana region.

The local chamber of commerce is partnering with Bowie County, Texas and Miller County, Arkansas to make that happen.

Local leaders say it's a connection between local businesses, the education system and the chamber working together to create a talent pipeline for the Texarkana region.

Miller County began the process of becoming an ACT Work Ready Community earlier this year, and now Bowie County is coming on board. Part of the initiative involves students taking the ACT WorkKeys exam to determine their level of preparedness to enter the workforce.

Texarkana chamber leaders say their role is to educate businesses about the opportunities available to them to hire the best employees.

"They can not only say I have a high school diploma, but I have taken this test. I am nationally credentialed in workplace graphics, workplace documents, graphic literacy, math, those are the basics. So an employer can say, wow you have gone the extra length. I'm going to interview you first," said Robbin Bass, business retention and expansion director.

Bass said it's important that the initiative is developed in Miller and Bowie counties because employers want to hire from both sides of the state line.

"We don't want this to be a dividing factor. We want our entire region to be what we call work ready. We want to be able to say Texarkana is a work ready community," said Bass.

The program doesn't cost anything for businesses to participate.

Local leaders hope the initiative will help Texarkana stand out nationally for their workforce development efforts.

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For more information on this initiative, go to www.workreadycommunities.org, and view ACT’s workforce solutions at www.act.org/workforce. You may also contact Robbin Bass, director of business retention and expansion with the Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce, rbass@texarkana.org

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