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St. Louis County receives certification pointing to skilled workforce

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger announces St. Louis County has earned Certified Work Ready Community status at a press conference on Feb. 21, 2018.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County has joined 50 other Missouri counties in receiving Certified Work Ready Community status. County officials announced the designation Wednesday, saying it highlights the county’s competitive workforce.

“A skilled workforce is the heart of a strong economy,” said St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger. “As a CWRC, St. Louis County is sending a signal to the world that our workforce is highly skilled and businesses can expect to grow and thrive here.”


The CWRC status is based partly on the results of testing conducted by the American College Testing Organization. The ACT awards Work Ready status based on the number of test-takers who earn a National Career Readiness Certificate and the number of employers who officially recognize the certificate.

A diverse group of St. Louis County residents took the certification test, including high school students, college students, unemployed workers and workers participating in adult education programs. Of the individuals in St. Louis County who took the test, 9,790 earned a National Career Readiness Certificate — approximately three times the number required for community certification.

In St. Louis County, 323 employers have officially recognized the certificate, including Boeing and Ameren.

“This designation will provide St. Louis County with an important competitive advantage to attract high-tech, high-skill and high-paying jobs right here in St. Louis County,” said Boeing Senior Manager of Global Engagement Jeff Sweet.

According to St. Louis County officials, the certification process took more than two years to complete. In order to maintain its CWRC status, St. Louis County must undergo recertification every two years.

Shahla Farzan was a reporter at St. Louis Public Radio. Before becoming a journalist, Shahla spent six years studying native bees, eventually earning her PhD in ecology from the University of California-Davis. Her work for St. Louis Public Radio on drug overdoses in Missouri prisons won a 2020 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award.