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Okaloosa County Students Are Most “Ready to Work”

Okaloosa County is not the largest school district in the state, but it boasts the most students who have been certified as "Ready to Work." Okaloosa led the state with 715 students who have passed the work skills test. Students from Crestview High School led both the county and the state, earning 400 of the certifications. Other programs related to the school district brought the total to more than 850.

Students who receive Ready to Work certification participate in an interactive, self-paced program, followed by three exams that cover essential skill areas: Applied Math, Reading for Information and Locating Information. There are three levels of achievement on the test. A score of at least three in each area is required for bronze level certification, while a score of four in each area gives the applicant a silver level. Those who receive five in all areas receive a gold level, which demonstrates that the applicant has the communication and problem-solving skills required to perform 90 percent of jobs available. The assessments are developed by ACT®, a national company which produces the college admission test by the same name.

In Okaloosa, the high schools initially offered the free test to their CHOICE students, who take other national certification tests as part of their course studies. As principals and teachers recognized the value of the certification in demonstrating workplace skills, testing was extended throughout the schools and to other school-based programs. The Jobs Plus bus visited school campuses to build awareness of the certification and to allow more students to take the exam.