Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTIONS ABOUT ACT Work Ready Communities

  • What is ACT Work Ready Communities? Work Ready Communities (WRC) is a national effort, led by ACT, to provide a framework for states, regions and communities to build an economic development, community based approach grounded in certifying counties as Work Ready. ACT awards this certification when counties achieve goals (based on common criteria) of individuals in the workforce earning an ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate and businesses recognizing or recommending the ACT WorkKeys NCRC.
  • What is the process for counties to become involved? There is an application that must be completed and submitted. As part of the application process, a leadership team will need to be established. Please go to the website and click on 'Resources' tab on the home page. Then click ‘WRC Boot Camp.' This will provide more information on the process and a link to the most recent application.
  • What does it mean for a county to be actively participating in ACT Work Ready Communities? It means the local leadership team has applied and been accepted into the ACT WRC Boot Camp - the Boot Camp is the mechanism by which ACT engages with counties. The application is available on the website and by completing the application you are also forming your team.
  • When can a county or region apply? ACT is always accepting applications from individual counties and regions to participate. Click here to apply.
  • What does it mean when a county gets certified? A county becomes eligible for WRC status when it has met its ACT WorkKeys NCRC and business engagement common criteria goals PLUS what, if any, additional state criteria are in place for certification (additional state criteria would only apply for counties in participating states). The WRC recognition means a county has a system in place to provide employers' irrefutable data that it can deliver a quality workforce with the skills employers need.
  • What happens after initial certification? After communities achieve their initial certification, they will have the opportunity to continue to maintain this certification. This ensures that a community continues its process toward measuring, certifying and improving the skill level of its workforce.
  • What does it mean for an employer to be engaged? A business can indicate its support by signing up on the WRC website. If a business has greater than 100 employees, it may also count toward the goals for the surrounding counties.
  • Who can sign a business up?Anyone authorized to act on the business' behalf can visit the WRC website and fill out the online form indicating their support. ACT reserves the right to verify participating businesses prior to posting on the website.

About the data

  • How often is the data updated? ACT WorkKeys NCRC county data will be updated monthly, typically mid-month. Data posted reflects the certificates counted through the last day of the previous calendar month.
  • Why are you not showing data greater than zero and less than four? We did not want to release any individually identifiable information. Therefore, any ACT WorkKeys NCRCs fewer than four are represented by a +.
  • I am aware that my state has more ACT WorkKeys NCRCs than are reflected on this website. Why are they not showing up here? The state page reports the ACT WorkKeys NCRCs issued since 2006 created and stored in the ACT RegiSTAR system. The county page reports ACT WorkKeys NCRCs earned after Jan. 1, 2012 and created/stored in the RegiSTAR system. Prior to that date the county of residence was not captured at the time of testing. The WRC website does not include state CRCs based on WorkKeys that are not ACT WorkKeys NCRCs created and stored in RegiSTAR.
  • What is considered a counted certificate? In order to be counted towards a community's certification goals, the assessment taker must have provided his or her county of residence and current workforce status. If the assessment is taken via WKIV, the examinee is required to provide this information. If the assessment is taken via the paper answer sheet, then the examinee will provide demographic information if the WK administrator ensures it has been collected. 
    The ACT WorkKeys NCRC must also be stored in RegiSTAR.
  • Is it possible to get county level data for states that are not participating? County level data is presented for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. However, Work Ready Community goals are only available for participating counties.
  • What do we mean by the emerging, transitioning and current workforce? Emerging workforce consists of high school juniors and seniors, college students (can be technical, vocational, community college or four-year college programs), and recent graduates (within the last 12 months).  Transitioning workforce means currently unemployed or currently participating in an adult education or GED program (or recent completed within the last 12 months).  Current workforce means currently employed in either the private or public sector. Information about recent veterans (discharged within the last 12 months) is also captured; veterans will be counted in the transitioning workforce category.
  • What is an improved certificate and how is that counted? When an individual re-takes an assessment and earns a new ACT WorkKeys NCRC at a higher level (for example, moving from not earned to bronze, or from silver to gold), ACT captures and reports that information as an improved certificate. It is a measure of the number of individuals who are closing their own skills gaps.
  • How are you capturing an individual's county of residence and current employment status?At the time of assessment, test-takers are asked to self-identify their county of residence and current employment status. They may only select one option for current workforce status -- they are instructed to select the option that best describes them.
  • What if an individual's county of residence or current employment status changes? TThe county of residence and current workforce status data is designed to be a snapshot in time when the certificate holder took the assessment and earned an ACT WorkKeys NCRC. There is no way to update this unless the individual retakes at least one WorkKeys assessment. HOWEVER, if an individual retakes an assessment and earns a NEW certificate at a higher level, then any updates to county of residence or current workforce status would be reflected in our reports.
  • What happens if an examinee does not complete the county of residence or current status on a paper answer document? If the county of residence and current status information is missing the ACT WorkKeys NCRC earned by the individual will not count towards a county's goals.

This website reports the ACT® WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificates earned at the county and state level and the progress being made by those participating states and counties in the ACT Work Ready Community initiative. This site only represents data stored in the ACT RegiSTAR™ system, a web-based reporting and management tool for ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificates.


State and national ACT WorkKeys NCRC data runs from January 2006 through , while county-level data is starting from January 2012. State job profile data runs from January 2007 through , while national job profile data reaches back to 1993. Again, please note that county-level ACT WorkKeys NCRC data collection began in January 2012 for WorkKeys Internet Version, and in July 2012 for pencil and paper assessments. State and national certificate totals include historical data prior to 2012.


Please contact us if you have comments, questions or would like to receive more information.