WorkKeys Works – A Hidden Gem

By on July 2, 2012
Measuring Skills, Abilities and Knowledge

In the late 1990’s, there was a local effort spearheaded by the St Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association and other civic leaders to improve the communication between business and all levels of education. This effort resulted in identifying the WorkKeys® system as the tool to accomplish this.

The WorkKeys system is a nationally recognized approach that includes job task and skill analysis that is then linked to foundational skill assessments. It is now used by thousands of companies worldwide as a tool to help employers select, hire, train, develop, and retain the high-performance workforce necessary to compete successfully in today’s global economy. Over the past decade, ACT has completed thousands of job task and skill profiles for small, medium and large companies. It has also administered millions of assessments throughout the United States. WorkKeys became the link for education and workforce partners within a community, offering a common language to help them communicate about job skills needed to develop employees and build a better workforce.

An interesting twist happened nationally as well as locally. The WorkKeys system was adopted by companies to create a strategic market advantage by finding a superior workforce. This wasn’t, and in some cases still isn’t, shared with other companies within industries. It was all about creating the competitive advantage.

Well here we are in 2012 and the gem has been unearthed with more and more companies using the WorkKeys both nationally and locally. The state of Missouri has incorporated it in its economic and workforce development plans. Throughout the region as large, medium and small companies are hiring, they seek out individuals who have participated in the WorkKeys system.

Locally in 2012, the WorkKeys Solution Center at the Corporate College of STLCC has been active promoting this still under-utilized gem from which many businesses could benefit. For example, we are working with a couple of large health care providers who are using the WorkKeys system in their hiring process for Patient Care Techs. We are also using the WorkKeys system when working with manufacturing companies who are hiring assemblers, warehouse workers, maintenance techs, machine shop techs and engine assemblers.

If you are interested in the next step, you can respond to this blog post or contact me directly at

About Jim Duane

Jim has more than 30 years of experience in the workforce development field. At St. Louis Community College’s Workforce Solutions Group, Jim is the manager and lead WorkKeys job task and skill profiler for the WorkKeys Solution Center. Throughout his 10 plus years as a WorkKeys Job Profiler, Jim has worked with numerous large, medium and small size companies in the aerospace/defense, beverage, cement manufacturing, construction, drug manufacturing, electric utility, healthcare, hospital, petroleum-chemical processing, and sporting goods industries. His team has conducted approximately 50,000 WorkKeys assessments for companies, organized labor, schools, and organizations. He has also presented at national and regional conferences, chaired regional workforce resource committees, and conducted numerous local, statewide and national focus groups around workforce development. He has received the Missouri Governor's Award for Excellence in Leadership in workforce development. This award was based on the Malcolm Baldridge quality management criteria.

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