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College & Career Training in Alaska

24Mar

What is WorkKeys and How it Can Work for You

If you’re considering career training (a vocational program or a registered apprenticeship program), or if you’re thinking about starting a new career, or shifting jobs in your current field, WorkKeys can be a requirement. Here’s the scoop to turn you into a WorkKeys expert. What exactly is WorkKeys?

WorkKeys is a set of assessments that measure workplace skills that can affect your job performance. High scores on the WorkKeys assessments can increase your opportunities for career changes and advancement. The assessments measure your hard skills and soft skills that can be relevant to any occupation, and are valued and sought after by employers across jobs and industries.

Remember that with WorkKeys you’re in control. You can take the assessments on your own time, as many times as you want, and only share the results with employers when you’re satisfied with your scores. Make sure to practice before taking the assessments. The Alaska Job Center Network offers a practice assessment called Career Ready 101. This practice assessment is free of charge and can be taken on a walk-in basis. To be able to take advantage of Career Ready 101, you’ll have to register with ALEXsys – the Alaska Labor Exchange System. Once you have practiced and feel ready, contact one of the WorkKeys Testing Centers and schedule an appointment for your test.

Although there are currently eight different WorkKeys assessments, three of them in particular – Applied MathGraphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents are recommended (and/or required) by employers:

The Applied Math Assessment [Number of Items: 34; Test Length: 55 minutes]

Do you remember sitting in math class wondering when you’d use this knowledge in real life? It may be surprising, but in a variety of professions math is used on a daily basis. Thanks to the Applied Math Assessment, employers can find out what your level of critical thinking and mathematical reasoning is, and how you’d solve problematic situations that may happen in today’s workplace. Even though calculators and conversion tables are allowed during this assessment, you still need math skills to think the problems through.

The Graphic Literacy Assessment [Number of Items: 38; Test Length: 55 minutes]

Charts, graphs, diagrams, floor plans, etc., are all different formats of workplace graphics that present information. If you’re able to identify what information is communicated and you understand how to use it, then you’re that much closer to success. Thanks to the Graphic Literacy Assessment, employers can find out if you’ve got what it takes to analyze and solve work-related problems with the use of graphical materials.

The Workplace Documents Assessment [Number of Items: 35; Test Length: 55 minutes]

It’s a no brainer, that being able to understand written text is critical if you want to do the job right. Messages, e-mails, letters, directions, signs, bulletins, policies, websites, contracts, regulations are all examples of documents you may come in regular contact with in your workplace. Thanks to the Workplace Documents Assessment, employers can find out if you have the skills needed to read with understanding real workplace documents, and, in turn, how you use this information to make job-related decisions and solve problems.  

By successfully completing the WorkKeys assessments in Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents at Level Score of 3 or better, you can earn the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) – the nation’s most recognized, portable work readiness credential. NCRC certifies that you possess the essential work skills needed for success in jobs across industries and occupations. On top of that, research shows that performing well on WorkKeys and earning higher NCRC levels can help people secure higher incomes in the short- and long-run.

In Alaska, if you graduated from high school after 2011, WorkKeys scores can be combined with a specific set of high school courses and with your GPA at high school graduation to qualify for the Alaska Performance Scholarship (APS). If you choose to use your WorkKeys scores to qualify for the APS, you can use it for certificate programs, but not for associate, bachelor, or other degree programs.

As you can see, WorkKeys works for Individuals, such as yourself – it measures your skills and can advance your career goals; for Educators – it helps them get students ready for career success; and for Employers – it helps them find, hire, and develop quality workforce. Make WorkKeys work for you too!

If you need assistance, please come by the ACPE Success Center located at the Dimond Center Mall. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 1 (800) 441-2962, option #4.

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