Fort Dodge Senior High students Wednesday tested for their National Career Readiness Certificate.
The NCRC is designed to measure an individual's skills in applied mathematics, reading for information and locating information. Students are rated at platinum, gold, silver or bronze levels.
The senior high is collaborating with the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance and Iowa Workforce Development to make the opportunity available to students.
"It's a certification that will allow employers to see what skills the students have," Lynnae Harvey, a FDSH counselor, said. "They will take three different assessments on a computer and that will tell them what kind of skills they possess that employers may want."
Employers look at the levels the individual has achieved on their certification, Harvey said.
"We have some employers here that are now wanting their potential employees to have this, because it makes it easier to hire people if you know what skills they have," she said.
Certification also benefits students, not only in finding a job but also in improving themselves.
"The students can take this and it tells them where they are, if you were to be employed today, where are you, what skills can you continue to work on, even for those students going to college," Harvey said.
Harvey said certification benefits even students who are preparing to attend a four-year college.
"Some of our students who are four-year college bound are thinking this test might not be the most beneficial for them, but it can be a benefit for part-time employment while they're in college; it gives them a certification," she said. "It also lets them know what kinds of skills are important to employers and lets them self-evaluate where they are."
According to Kelly Halsted, GFDGA economic development director, certification makes hiring more efficient.
"They'll be able to determine that fairly quickly, based on the level of certification the applicant has," Halsted said. "They would match the skills to the job they're applying for, and also cut costs in training, as well as having to let somebody go after determining maybe this person really doesn't have the skills we're looking for or need for the position."
Making the test available follows the GFDGA's mission to enhance the area's work force.
"We want to create a skilled work force that's ready for our current employers as well as ones we're recruiting," Halsted said.
Students have more than one opportunity to take the test for certification, and can even practice some after.
"They can get into the work keys, as kind of a pre-test, and that will help them prepare for the test," Harvey said. "We haven't done that with these students, because of timeliness, but once they take this then they will get log-in information and they can go back and practice on this, see what it's like and take it again."
Harvey said certification is worthwhile.
"We talk a lot about making school relevant to what students are going to do, this is just one of those things," she said. "It's a move to a career and technical type school. We have a lot of students who want to know all the time, why do I need to know this? Well, it's for a job some day, but they don't always see that. This makes it relevant to the students."