Frequently Asked Questions

    General Questions

  1. What is ACT’s Tomorrow’s Workforce Now program?

    The program was designed to help improve America's workforce using evidence-based selection tools that will benefit thousands of employers and tens of thousands of individuals.

    Tomorrow’s Workforce Now will help communities build a skilled workforce and help employers secure a pipeline of talent for the future. The program, introduced by ACT, Inc. and supported by a growing coalition of community colleges across the nation, uses the evidence-based National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) Plus to demonstrate the power of certified foundational skills in predicting job performance.

    ACT will work with community college partners (or other regional conveners) to organize groups of employers who will have the opportunity to use the NCRC Plus—at no cost—to assess up to 20 individuals per employer.

  2. What other organizations are involved in this program?

    Tomorrow’s Workforce Now is being launched with the support of the American Association of Community Colleges, California Community Colleges, and many individual community colleges across the nation.

    The initiative will require strong leadership and organization at the local level. A growing number of community colleges across the nation have already committed to such leadership roles in implementing the program. Community colleges will work with other local partners including businesses, workforce agencies, and economic development agencies to help build communities equipped to create and compete for high-quality jobs and careers.

  3. Why was this program introduced?

    Our country faces high unemployment. At the same time, employers struggle to find the right people for unfilled jobs, largely because:

    • Employers lack evidence-based tools that aid in reliably predicting job performance and making dependable selection decisions.
    • Individuals simply don’t know what they don’t know. The best path to a good job is unclear.

    Organizations across the nation are working to remedy this by designing career pathways, work-ready communities, workforce training, and statewide career readiness programs to address the skill needs of employers and individuals. ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC™) and NCRC Plus are aligned to these needs. They are used at the front end of a diverse array of career pathways programs, in workforce education and training, and at the heart of work ready communities and state programs to certify foundational workplace skills—skills essential for all jobs.

    Tomorrow’s Workforce Now supports all of these efforts while helping communities bring key stakeholders together to create a skilled community or regional workforce.

  4. How does the program benefit employers, individuals, community partners, and communities?

    Tomorrow’s Workforce Now will assist thousands of employers in their efforts to identify and develop their talent supply chain: incumbent workers and applicants. Additionally, tens of thousands of individuals will be able to analyze, assess, and certify essential job skills that are required by the 21st century workplace.

    Employer benefits:

    • Employers can experience, at no cost, the tool that is helping businesses across the nation to reduce turnover, decrease employee errors and lower training costs. Focusing on NCRC skills delivers significant bottom line impact. The NCRC Plus takes the tool to a new level.
    • Businesses become part of a community group organized to address skills needed in the workplace. The group will include the community college and other key partners, facilitating the discussions between employers and trainers that need to happen in all communities.
    • Employers will see a cost-effective way to begin building a pipeline of talent for the future.

    Community benefits:

    • The initiative is designed to start a community-wide skills movement. Over time it can increase skills of the workforce, providing higher skilled workers for current employers and creating a powerful economic development tool for attracting new employers.
    • The program convenes key community stakeholders who otherwise might not have assembled to discuss vital skills issues.

    Benefits for individuals:

    • Participating examinees can earn ACT’s nationally-recognized career readiness credential, the NCRC Plus.
    • Individuals will discover where they should focus if they wish to improve their skills and exhibit more productive behaviors at work.

    At a time when our nation—individuals, families, businesses, and communities—needs it most, Tomorrow’s Workforce Now will:

    • support existing regional partnerships and facilitate the establishment of new initiatives capable of implementing accelerated strategies for developing a competitive workforce.
    • bring together community college systems, local or regional employer groups, workforce and economic development agencies, and other education and training providers—creating strong regional economies that will build a stronger national economy.
  5. What is the best way to get involved or find out more information?

    Fill out the simple inquiry form at www.TomorrowsWorkforceNow.com

  6. Application Questions

  7. Who can apply?

    Applicants will be regional or community groups convened by a local champion, such as a community college. Groups will consist of employers, the community college, and/or other local partners. The community college, or other group champion, would very likely start the application process.

  8. When will applications be accepted?

    Applications will be accepted from May 1, 2012, through December 31, 2012. Applicants are encouraged to begin organizing right away. The first implementations will begin in July 2012.

  9. What are the basic requirements for qualification?
    • The applicant is a regional or community group convened by a local champion, such as a community college.
    • The group should consist of approximately 20 employers (who are not actively using the NCRC/NCRC Plus), the community college, and/or other local partners such as a workforce agency.
    • Each employer agrees to assess 10 to 20 individuals and to complete a supervisor feedback survey for each.
    • The community college, or other partner, will play an organizational role and will administer assessments for this program at no cost to the employers.
    • The group agrees to complete the assessment process in 180 days or less.
  10. What is a regional employer group? How is a region defined?

    Regions and regional groups are not defined by specific numbers. The goal is to create a group within a reasonably-sized labor shed area. This area may be a single community, or it may be a larger region.

  11. Are the requirements absolute? What if a group falls short on one requirement, but makes up for it in other ways?

    Special circumstances will be considered.

    Requirements are designed to maximize the program’s benefits to a region or community. If you have special circumstances, please describe them in your application. If you would like to discuss circumstances before you apply, please contact our support team at info@tomorrowsworkforcenow.com or 1-800-967-5539.

  12. Can an employer group originally organized around another grant opportunity or skills initiative apply?

    Yes.

  13. Program Detail Questions

  14. How long will the program be available?

    Applications will be accepted from May 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012. The first implementations will begin in July 2012. Groups will be asked to complete assessments within 180 days of their start date.

  15. How many employers can be in a group?

    Although the preferred number is 20, numbers within a reasonable range will be considered.

  16. Is there a role for employers who are already actively using the NCRC or NCRC Plus?

    Yes. Providing the opportunity to use and understand the NCRC Plus at no cost is meant to engage employers who otherwise would not be involved – but the larger goal is to engage an entire community or region. We see an important role for active users of the products as advocates of the program. Such participation will be in addition to the 20 employers not actively using the products.

  17. How long will we have to complete the program?

    All assessments should be completed within 180 days of delivery of your program materials.

  18. Will ACT provide any assistance in organizing employer groups and partnerships in a community?

    Yes. Please contact us at info@tomorrowsworkforcenow.com or 1-800-967-5539 and we will arrange for a representative to get in touch with you.

  19. What is the assessment format?

    All assessments will be Internet-based and proctored.

  20. Will employers have access to any other employer’s results within an employer group?

    No.

  21. How long does the assessment process take?

    Three of the assessments take approximately 55 minutes each. The fourth takes 30 to 35 minutes.

  22. What is the Supervisor Feedback Survey about?

    The purpose of the WorkKeys® Supervisor Survey is to provide validity evidence for the WorkKeys portfolio of solutions. Supervisors assess job incumbents’ performance and other important on-the-job behaviors that are then linked to the WorkKeys assessments. The survey is typically administered after employees have been on the job for at least six weeks. It takes supervisors roughly 10 to 15 minutes to complete the survey for each employee. Survey scale scores provide information that is critical for validating the use of assessments for personnel selection and organizational research.

  23. Where can we see employer case studies showing what type of results we can expect?

    Employer case studies can be viewed here: http://act.org/workforce/case