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State tries to get communities Work Ready
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For more information about the Be Work Ready program or to apply for benefits visit

For more information about the Work Ready initiative visit

State officials have come up with a new initiative designed to help unemployed Georgians improve their marketable skills.

Gov. Sonny Perdue recently announced the launching of the Be Work Ready program that offers "monetary incentives for either earning a Work Ready Certificate or improving skills through free, online Work Ready skills gap training." The program is funded by money from the federal stimulus plan.

"Be Work Ready is meant to inject confidence into Georgia’s unemployed population, cultivating a skilled and qualified work force for business and driving economic development throughout the state," Perdue said. "Georgia is leading the nation in work force development and is committed to helping our citizens to develop the skills that serve as the foundation to a successful job search."

To earn a Work Ready Certificate, individuals have to complete the WorkKeys Assessment developed by ACT. The assessment tests aptitude for applied math and other skills that are said to be necessary to succeed in various jobs. The certificates show potential employers that the applicant has mastered certain skills.

Individuals who earn a bronze, silver or gold level Work Ready Certificate are eligible for a $50 gift card through the Be Work Ready program. A platinum certificate earns the recipient a $100 gift card.

To qualify for the program, individuals must be at least 18 years old, currently unemployed and have earned a Work Ready Certificate. Individuals who have earned a certificate since Sept. 1 also are eligible to apply for the benefits of the Be Work Ready Program.

Both Hall and Jackson counties are currently working toward becoming Certified Work Ready Communities. In to do, they must meet several benchmarks, including having a minimum high school graduation rate of 70 percent and a certified Work Ready work force that includes at least 3 percent of the existing work force.