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REDI Report – May 16, 2015

A time to reflect

Sometimes we get so caught up in how fast life moves that we don’t take time to simply take a breath and reflect on important moments. I certainly hope that each and every Lebanon High School graduate who walked across the stage Friday night at the Cowan Civic Center was able to reflect on his or her life and celebrate all the hard work and to remember all of those who provided support along the road to Friday night’s “big moment.” And I hope the friends and families of each graduate were able to do the same.

Our community and county are certainly blessed with great educators and those who support our youth in realizing their dreams. And when it comes to promoting Lebanon and Laclede County, educational achievement is a big key to selling this community as a potential great place to do business or continue doing business.

One of the great education and workforce-related programs that Lebanon Regional Economic Development (Lebanon-REDI) is proud to support is the ACT Work Ready Communities program. Laclede is one of 52 Missouri counties participating in this program which helps both the members of our workforce be better prepared for jobs we have locally and helps our employers have access to workers who are ready for the jobs offered in our community. Our long-term goal is to become a certified “ACT Work Ready Community,” which will give our community and county better visibility to attract and retain jobs.

An important partner in this process is the Lebanon Technology and Career Center (LTCC) at Lebanon High School. LTCC Director Keith Davis and his staff work very hard to help our youth determine what career paths they should take. They also give the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) examinations to junior and senior students who wish to take the test. Lebanon-REDI is glad to provide an annual contribution that helps keep LTCC as a testing location for this program.

To successfully complete the NCRC, examinees must take tests in three key areas – applied mathematics, locating information and reading for information. These exams really challenge the test takers’ skill in all three areas as they relate to the needs of our local work place. Once successfully completed, this shows that the person who did well on the test is truly ready to move into the work place and is very likely to be a good employee to his or her employer.

This year we had 94 students complete the exam successfully. I hope each student who completed the exam takes pride in that fact that he or she has some of the core skills needed to do well in our workforce. And I likewise hope our employers will take notice when they learn that a potential applicant has completed the exam.

Future businesses and industries want to know what we are doing on a regular basis to help our workforce be ready for the jobs of tomorrow. Participating in the ACT Work Ready Communities program is just one of the ways Lebanon and Laclede County are working hard to stay on top of this challenge.

In addition to LTCC, I want to thank the more than 20 businesses locally who are helping us try to reach “Work Ready Community” status by recognizing the NCRC certificate. It takes all of us working together to make good things happen.

In closing, graduates congratulations on your hard work. Take this weekend to reflect and thank your friends, families, teachers and anyone who played a part along the journey.

(Brian Thompson is the President/Chief Executive Officer of Lebanon-REDI. He may be reached at his office at 200 E. Commercial Street at 417-533-5627, by mobile phone at 417-288-9737 or by e-mail at brian@lebanonredi.com)