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National Career Readiness Certificate  

Building student skills for the workplace

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Closing the gap between the skills of today's workforce and

basic skill needs of employers


As careers in the United States become more complex higher skills are needed by employers. A common language is needed for these skills for employers, educators, and communities. The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) based on the WorkKeys assessments begins to address the need of higher skills and common language defining those skills.


Click on the following links:


To learn more explore the WorkKeys modules below.



Measuring student skills for the workplace -

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The employers perspective of essential skills required for the work place




For more information on WorkKeys assessments and their connection to what is being taught in high school, explore the Michigan Merit Exam module below.



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Below are examples of content expectation alignments to WorkKeys skills. These alignments correlate to Science, Applied Math, and the three WorkKeys tests within the Michigan Merit Exam (MME). Included are:



High school content expectations and alignment to the WorkKeys/MME assessments


WorkKeys Locating Information correlated to Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics


WorkKeys Reading for Information correlated to Grades 9-12 English Language Arts (ELA)


WorkKeys Locating Information correlated to Grades 9-12 Mathematics

WorkKeys is a job skills assessment system measuring "real world" skills that employers believe are essential to career readiness success. These skills are valuable for any career, skilled or professional, and at any level of education. Students can use their WorkKeys scores to determine how their skills compare with workplace requirements in their careers of interest.



Students in the State of Michigan

take three WorkKeys tests in the required 11th grade high school assessment called the Michigan Merit Exam (MME).



Posters for Distribution to your schools for NCRC

Michigan Merit Exam (MME)  

Assessing student skills for the workplace

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Students and WorkKeys - The Michigan Merit Exam


Students in the State of Michigan take three WorkKeys tests in the required 11th grade high school assessment called the Michigan Merit Exam (MME).


The three required WorkKeys tests are (Yes! These are the same tests within NCRC):

  • Reading for Information (RI) - comprehending work-related reading materials, from memos and bulletins to policy manuals and government regulations
  • Applied Mathematics (AM) - applying mathematical reasoning to work-related problems
  • Locating Information (LI) - using information from such materials as diagrams, floor plans, tables, forms, graphs, and charts


Click on the following links:

For more information on KeyTrain: How to raise student scores,

explore the module below.

KeyTrain, an online curriculum  

Improving the MME/WorkKeys scores for the NCRC - Check it out!

Teaching, assessing, and measuring student skills for the workplace



KeyTrain is a targeted curriculum written specifically to assist students and adults master the applied workplace skills as defined by the WorkKeys system. KeyTrain can be used to prepare for freshman transitions into high school. Students can also attain higher National Career Readiness Certificate scores by improving WorkKeys scores on the MME, and continue learning in their senior year to be ready for postsecondary training and work.

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For more information on benefits to student scores explore the module below.

KeyTrain resource documents  
 TitleCategoryLast UpdatedSize (Kb) 
Applied Mathematics KeyTrain Alignment 42/19/2009 219.14 Download
English Language Arts 412/10/2008 156.67 Download
Getting The Most Out of KeyTrain 212/10/2008 48.13 Download
Science KeyTrain Alignment 512/10/2008 154.62 Download
What is KeyTrain? 112/10/2008 91.43 Download

Building a System  

Podcast #1

Working Smart- Integration and Engagement for Students


Podcast #2  

Making Connections ACT EXPLORE – PLAN , EDP’s- KeyTrain, WorkKeys and the NCRC Part 2 –





Career Posters  

AM=Applied Math; LI=Locating Information; RFI=Reading for Information; W=Writing


Lansing CC Guarantees: Get a Skill, Get a job or Get Your Money Back

Posted, March 2010






Michigan NCRC Conference 2009,                                    The NCRC Employer Handbook is complete

KeyTrain Powerpoint Presentation                                         and posted on the website. Posted 3/9/10. 

by Cathy Smith, Oakland County Coordinator, KeyTrain                                   

Helpful links to more information  

For Parents...  

Why should PARENTS care about WorkKeys? Click here. Or read all about it below!


Why should parents and students care about these tests?

All students enter the workforce eventually—whether they get a job right out of high school, work part-time while continuing their education, or go to college first. WorkKeys stresses skills development important for every type of employment. In fact, the fastest growing segments of the WorkKeys job analyses are being done for professional, technical, and managerial jobs that require at least a four-year college degree. The abilities to learn, listen, communicate, work in teams, and solve problems—all areas addressed by WorkKeys—are important assets for any employee, regardless of career choice. They are also extremely important in today's colleges.

Why is WorkKeys® important to high school students?WorkKeys provides important information no matter what type of skilled or professional career a student plans to pursue after high school. Studies show that occupations requiring higher skills in math, locating information, and reading pay higher entry-level salaries. In fact, skill levels show a stronger correlation to pay than education levels do. By increasing their skill levels while they are still in school, students increase their opportunities for higher salaries in the future. Large numbers of students are entering the workforce without enough skills to qualify them for the jobs they want. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 1.5 million students leave high school each year inadequately trained for even entry-level jobs. Because WorkKeys measures skills valued by employers, students can use their results to get a better picture of their chances for success in the workforce and to improve areas where their skills are weak. Schools can use the information—along with input from employers—to ensure that their courses of study provide adequate work skills training to meet the needs of businesses.

What are the tests like?

WorkKeys measures eight workplace skills:

·                          Applied Mathematics

·                          Applied Technology

·                          Listening

·                          Locating Information

·                          Observation

·                          Reading for Information

·                          Teamwork

·                          Writing

WorkKeys questions feature everyday workplace problems. In each case, the basic skills needed to answer the questions are the same as those needed to perform actual job tasks, such as solving a legal question, setting up a computer, or scheduling employee vacations.

Each test measures a range of skill levels, from the lowest level for which employers are willing to test up to the point at which specialized training is needed.

WorkKeys tests may use traditional paper-and-pencil testing, audiotapes, videotapes, or web-based testing.   

Can students study for the tests?

Since WorkKeys measures basic skills, students cannot "cram" or memorize answers for the tests. Reviewing sample questions will help students understand the type of testing that takes place.

What happens to the test results?

At most schools, students and their counselors are the only ones to receive individual score reports.

· Students can use their results to identify jobs for which they are qualified and to improve areas where their skills are weak.

· Schools can use the information—along with input from employers—to ensure that the curriculum provides adequate work skills training to meet the needs of businesses.

· Employers may request—with a student's permission—scores for recruiting, selection, and training.

How can I find out more about WorkKeys?

For more information on WorkKeys, contact your school's counselor.

Is WorkKeys offered in Spanish?

Yes. We have developed Spanish-language WorkKeys assessments for our four most popular tests—Applied Mathematics, Applied Technology


Take advantage of Career Focused Education information for parents.

Click here.


ACT Parent



Your survival guide to college and career planning


A monthly newsletter designed to help you help your children succeed in middle school and high school as they prepare for college and careers. Click on ACT Parent link to subscribe to newsletter for information on:

  • First-Generation College Students: What They Need to Know
  • Organizational Strategies for School
  • 2009-2010 ACT Test Date Schedule;
  • The A-B-C's of the ACT
  • Why Should Your Child Attend College?
  • Middle School Map

If you need more information about ACT EXPLORE and ACT PLAN contact Sue Powell at 248.209.2584 or by email at Susan.F.Powell@oakland.k12.mi.us

Benefits to students and districts  

Using student skills -

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Benefits in the workplace and higher education 


Benefits to raising student scores: 

Students click here for instructions to share your National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) scores with a future employer or post-high school educational institution. This will help employers/schools understand the level of work readiness skills you have demonstrated.


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