{& by1JC} By Johnson City Press Editorial Board {/ bylineJC}

{& by2JC}

As we see it

L.Heads of State and Government will have the opportunity on Monday to put their money where they are when it comes to Washington County earning Work Ready Community certification.

County Commissioners are asked to allocate up to $ 3,000 to the First Tennessee Development District to cover the cost of work-ready testing for program participants who cannot afford the $ 75 fee.

The FTDD is working with the eight counties in northeast Tennessee to help them become ACT Work Ready Communities. It is a testimonial that job seekers can use to demonstrate their skills to companies that insist on hiring only the best qualified people. Counties of Sullivan and Hawkins will be the first counties in northeast Tennessee to earn community working certification.

Washington County is 91% achieving its goals of becoming a work-ready community, according to Lottie Ryans, director of FTDD’s workforce and literacy programs. She told members of the county’s health, education and social welfare committee earlier this month she needed their help to overcome the final hurdle to gaining this certification.

She suggested that by helping offset the cost of the tests, luring the 40 students needed to take the test to gain certification of the workforce.

HEW committee members are also committed to recruiting up to 10 local businesses to show support for the community program that is ready to work.

Ryans said only a handful of Tennessee’s 95 counties are now designated as a working parish. She said the award would give Washington County and other places an “edge” in attracting potential employers to the area.

To earn the work-ready certification, students are tested to understand workplace documents, graphics skills, and applied math.

Students can get a bronze, silver, gold or platinum certification. Platinum is the highest level. This is also the level Eastman Chemical Co. needs to apply for a position at its facility.

Spending up to $ 3,000 to assist students with the tests that enable Washington County to earn that valuable work-ready certification doesn’t seem like asking too much. It is a worthwhile investment in workforce development indeed.