FAQ - For Job Seekers
By 2010, more than 80 percent of all jobs will require skill levels beyond high school. And, almost all workers—no matter the profession—will need training and education at the college level. Today’s global marketplace demands unprecedented and ever changing skill levels. So whether you’re new to the job market or a seasoned veteran looking for advancement, employers want and expect more.
The abilities to learn, listen, communicate, work in teams, and solve problems are essential assets for any worker, regardless of career choice. But how do you walk into an interview for a job or promotion fully confident that you possess these skills?
That’s what WorkKeys® and the New Mexico Career Readiness Certificate are all about—an assessment and certification process that measures skills that employers believe are critical to job success. These skills are valuable for any occupation—skilled or professional—and at any level of education.
Companies across the United States are using this type of assessment and certification process for hiring new employees, assessing incumbent workers, and increasing salaries or position responsibilities.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Need an answer to a question that’s not here? Contact Lois Johnson at 505.827.0673 or Lois.Johnson@state.nm.us.
What is WorkKeys®?
What types of skills does WorkKeys® assess?
How does WorkKeys® Work?
What is the New Mexico “Certified for Success” Career Readiness Certificate, and how does it relate to WorkKeys®?
What are the core areas or skills being assessed for the New Mexico “Certified for Success” Career Readiness Certificate, and why those particular skills?
What format is used for the assessments, and how long do they take?
Where are the assessments administered?
What types of training will be offered, and where?
Does the New Mexico “Certified for Success” Career Readiness Certificate replace the need for other credentials like a high school diploma, GED, or college degree?
Who is driving the WorkKeys® and the New Mexico “Certified for Success” Career Readiness Certificate initiative?
Where is New Mexico in the implementation process?
Are other states using Career Readiness Certificates?
What costs are involved, and who pays?
How will having a New Mexico “Certified for Success” Career Readiness Certificate benefit me?
Q: What is WorkKeys®?
A: Designed by ACT, the company that developed the ACT assessment college entrance exam, WorkKeys® measures workplace literacy and represents a widely accepted common language for skills definition among employers, educators/trainers, and potential/incumbent employees.
With a database of more than 14,000 job profiles, WorkKeys® identifies skills needed on the job, assesses your skill level, and helps identify training needed to close any gaps.
Q: What types of skills does WorkKeys® assess?
A: The ability to learn, listen, communicate, work in teams, and solve problems are what employers expect. WorkKeys® assessments measure these abilities in three key areas:
• Communication—business writing, listening, reading for information, writing
• Problem-Solving—applied mathematics, applied technology, locating information, and observation
• Interpersonal skills—teamwork.
Q: How does WorkKeys® Work?
A: Each WorkKeys® assessment has a score level range. WorkKeys® scores indicate your ability to perform more complex skills as the score levels increase.
Q: What is the New Mexico “Certified for Success” Career Readiness Certificate, and how does it relate to WorkKeys®?
A: The New Mexico “Certified for Success” Career Readiness Certificate is a portable credential that shows you possess certain fundamental skills needed in the workplace. The WorkKeys® assessment system is used to determine those skill levels. Depending on their scores, potential or incumbent employees receive one of these certificates:
• Gold—awarded to those who score at or above a level 5 in each of the core areas
• Silver—awarded to those who score at or above a 4
• Bronze—awarded to those who score at or above a 3 in each of the core areas.
When you complete the ACT assessment registration, you also create an account. This allows current or potential employers to verify scores and completed training or track training needs.
Q: What are the core areas or skills being assessed for the New Mexico “Certified for Success” Career Readiness Certificate, and why those particular skills?
A: These WorkKeys® assessments are used:
• Reading for Information—measures the skills used when people read and use written text to do a job. Texts include memos, letters, directions, signs, notices, bulletins, policies, and regulations.
The test is made up of multiple-choice questions based on reading passages that reflect actual reading demands of the workplace. The reading materials at level 3 are short and direct. The material becomes longer, denser, and more difficult as readers move toward level 5.
• Locating Information—measures the skills people use when they work with workplace graphics such as charts, graphs, tables, forms, flowcharts, diagrams, floor plans, maps, and instrument gauges. You will be asked to find information in a graphic or insert information into a graphic. You must also compare, summarize, and analyze information found in related graphics.
At level 3, the graphics are simple, and you’ll be asked to fill in missing information. At level 5, you will use the information in one or more complex graphics to draw conclusions and make decisions.
• Applied Mathematics—measures skills used when applying mathematical reasoning and problem-solving techniques to work-related problems. The test questions require you to set up and solve the types of problems and do the types of calculations that actually occur in the workplace.
You can use a calculator, and the formula sheet that includes all formulas required for the assessment is provided.
Of the thousands of jobs profiled nationally using WorkKeys, about 85 percent of them use these three core areas.
Q: What format is used for the assessments, and how long do they take?
A: Since you can see your scores instantly, the preferred assessment method is by computer. However, if necessary, you can take the assessments with pencil and paper. It will then take 10 days to receive your scores. The assessments take about 45 to 55 minutes each.
Q: Where are the assessments administered?
A: There are a growing number of WorkKeys® Assessment Centers across the state, and you can find the one nearest you by logging on to www.nmcrc.org.
Q: What types of training will be offered, and where?
A: Skills upgrade training will be provided using on-line programs called KeyTrain or WIN, which are ACT approved curriculums. You can find the one nearest you by logging on to www.nmcrc.org
Q: Does the New Mexico “Certified for Success” Career Readiness Certificate replace the need for other credentials like a high school diploma, GED, or college degree?
A: Absolutely not. The certificate is a supplemental credential, and isn’t intended to be used as a substitute for a high school diploma, GED, or college degree. However, for those who don’t have any other credentials, the certificate represents a solid start toward future training and educational attainment.
Q: Who is driving the WorkKeys® and the New Mexico “Certified for Success” Career Readiness Certificate initiative?
A: This is an initiative of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Training and Development, and their partners: New Mexico Higher Education Department, NM Department of Labor, NM Workforce Connections, NM Human Services Department.
Q: Where is New Mexico in the implementation process?
A: Currently, you can obtain a certificate at any of the ACT testing sites (find the one nearest you by logging on to www.nmcrc.org). When fully implemented, assessment sites will be set up across the state on college campuses, Workforce Connections One-Stop sites, Adult Education centers.
Q: Are other states using Career Readiness Certificates?
A: Eight other States have implemented Career Readiness Certificates, agreeing that a portable credential demonstrating an individual’s attainment of workplace literacy skills would benefit the State’s economy. Those States are Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, Oklahoma, and North Carolina.
Q: What costs are involved, and who pays?
A: Once fully implemented, a variety of funds will cover the costs of pre-assessment, assessment, and training. Sources for those funds include federal programs, businesses (assessment and training for incumbent employees), and you. New Mexico has not yet finalized a fee structure for this initiative.
Q: How will having a New Mexico “Certified for Success” Career Readiness Certificate benefit me?
A: A portable skills credential that’s easily and nationally recognized facilitates job placement, retention, and advancement in our mobile society. For high school and college students, this assessment and certification process gives them an objective view of what they can do and what they need to learn to improve their chances of having successful careers. Other benefits include:
• Confidence that your skills meet the needs of employers here and across the country
• A clear road map for skill improvement and training and education needs
• Improved opportunities for career changes and ad