Keys to the Success You SEEK

Posted: August 17th, 2016

In his recent article, Testing Aligns Workforce with Employers, Mike Kelly highlights the reality that many employers in San Angelo, Texas face when selecting candidates from their communities’ pool of applicants. “Lack of skilled workers, or at least those with a basic toolbox of reading, writing, math, and willingness to learn, is one of the biggest headaches…” He explains how the issue that burdens this community and many others across the U.S. is that entry-level workers simply aren’t qualified for the positions for which they are applying. For instance, in San Angelo, there are more than 1,171 vacant job listings compared to the 2,600 potential job seekers (or applicants). This data indicates “that the skills in Concho Valley are not well aligned with the skills being sought by employers.”

One way that ACT, Inc. has been able to help address the skills gap in communities similar to that of San Angelo is by measuring workers with the Work Ready Communities initiative. It allows workers the ability to gauge their skills and determine how they can better prepare for “career success.” The testing system also has the capacity to match individuals with careers based on skill level.

What’s more, ACT Foundation (in partnership with Innovate + Educate) has developed SEEK, a tool that could also be useful in communities like San Angelo – and across the U.S. It is a “skill mapping platform, through which users can explore careers based on experience, education, interests, and skills developed not only from formal work and educational functions, but also from hobbies and other activities.” SEEK gives potential candidates a working knowledge of employer’s expectations. It’s like being given a key to your dream career and all you must do is follow the map to reach the door.

The platform also gives working learners a sense of power in a process that often leaves many powerless. It achieves this by establishing a candidate’s competencies based on hobbies, qualifications, and personal values. It also juxtaposes those basic competencies against qualifications based on the career position that was chosen. Lastly, it tells applicants what points to aim for on the WorkKeys exam. ACT’s WorkKeys, “measures skills that employers feel are essential to success in the workplace.” SEEK lays out a plan for applicants by mapping out what they must achieve in order to be attractive to potential employers. At the same time, it gives employers a baseline on which applicants would be the best fit based on their scores. By making these types of tools available to all workers, we are moving closer towards closing the skills gap. For now, SEEK is currently in beta testing with plans for a full roll-out at the beginning of October. Stay tuned!