Catahoula Parish Achieves Certification as 'ACT Work Ready'

Published: Feb. 8, 2016 at 2:23 PM CST
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Catahoula Parish Work Ready Team Leaders plan to announce that it has met all criteria to become a certified ACT Work Ready Community, at the Catahoula Parish Police Jury meeting on Monday, February 8, 2016, 6:00pm. This achievement caps a 16-month engagement process and begins a two-year growth and maintenance phase to retain certification.

Jim Clinton, President and CEO of Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (CLEDA) views this certification as significant to the region. “Catahoula’s Work Ready Community certification is a big step towards the entire Central Louisiana region being certified. Our thanks to all the leaders in Catahoula who worked so hard to make this happen,” says Mr. Clinton.

The ACT Work Ready Communities initiative is designed to assist a particular area, region or state in developing its workforce pipeline to provide skilled workers for employers. The framework allows each participating community to quantify and improve the skill levels of its workforce through a workforce skill credential—the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate™ (NCRC), which is earned by taking the WorkKeys assessment, and is supported by data updated online by ACT.

“The hard work and dedication of local team members, including the Catahoula Parish high schools staff, Louisiana Workforce Investment staff, Central Louisiana Technical & Community College – Ferriday Campus staff, local governmental units and especially Catahoula employers, have been phenomenal,” says Sondra Redmon, Director of Workforce Development for CLEDA, and regional facilitator. “This initiative is recognized nationally, and it will bring positive attention to Catahoula Parish.”

Catahoula Parish high schools and CLTCC have been providing the WorkKeys test to students and adults, with funding from The Rapides Foundation, through its educational program, The Orchard Foundation. CLEDA recently received funding from Delta Regional Authority to assist regional community members in building the infrastructure for the initiative, and expand testing opportunities. Parish employers are encouraged to ask applicants for the NCRC to show that job seekers are a good match for their openings.

To begin the certification process, Catahoula Parish Team leaders attended the ACT Work Ready Communities Academy, an executive leadership and training program designed and hosted by ACT. They then began to work toward their certification goals by building awareness, cooperation and commitment with local employers, policymakers, educators, workforce staff and economic developers.

“We congratulate Catahoula Parish for this significant achievement, and we are proud to add them to our growing list of certified ACT Work Ready Communities,” said Debra Lyons, ACT vice president for community and economic development. “The progressive thinking and positive action demonstrated by Parish leadership shows an enduring commitment to growing the economic success of the area. As a result, local residents will begin seeing the important linkage between education and workforce development and the value of matching people to jobs.”

The common building blocks of the initiative include:

+ ACT WorkKeys® assessments: Standardized tests that measure an individual’s essential work readiness skills in applied mathematics, reading for information and locating information. According to decades of ACT research, these foundational skills are essential for a majority of today’s jobs.

+ ACT National Career Readiness Certificate: A national credential based on assessment results and issued at the bronze, silver, gold or platinum level to indicate career readiness.

+ ACT Career Curriculum: ACT KeyTrain® and ACT Soft Skills Suite training tools to help individuals improve their “hard” and “soft” skill levels, as well as ACT Career Ready 101™ to help teachers bring work readiness skills into the classroom.

+ Job profiles: A job analysis system that helps employers understand the specific ACT WorkKeys assessment scores required for entry into and effective performance in a given job.

The Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (CLEDA) is an organization which consists of the economic development entities from the parishes of Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon and Winn. The mission of the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance is to help people prosper in vibrant, thriving communities. CLEDA’s activities include keeping data on Central Louisiana parishes, marketing the region to a national audience, working to provide educational opportunities to members, addressing workforce development concerns of regional employers and continuously communicating with existing businesses to maximize business expansion and retention efforts.


The Rapides Foundation is a philanthropic organization that develops initiatives and provides grants to organizations that share the Foundation’s mission to improve the health status of Central Louisiana. The Foundation’s service area consists of Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon and Winn parishes.


The Orchard Foundation is a nonprofit local education fund established as a resource for Central Louisiana that works with school districts, businesses, and communities to improve educational opportunities in a nine-parish service area: Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon and Winn. We believe that Orchard provides outstanding opportunities to develop leaders in education which enhance the education efforts in Central Louisiana.


The Delta Regional Authority works to improve regional economic opportunity by helping to create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of the 10 million people who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Delta region. Led by the Delta Regional Authority Board-comprised of the Federal Co-Chairman, appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and the governors of the eight states-the Delta Regional Authority fosters local and regional partnerships that address economic and social challenges to ultimately strengthen the Delta economy and the quality of life for Delta residents.


ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as the nation’s leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality achievement assessments grounded in more than 50 years of research and experience. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions that help people succeed from kindergarten through career, providing insights that unlock potential. To learn more about ACT, go to