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What is Alaska Career Ready | What is WorkKeys

What is Alaska Career Ready

Alaska Career Ready (ACR) Program is a jointly run program by Department of Education & Early Development (EED) and Department of Labor & Workforce Development (DOLWD).

The program allows students and adults to evaluate their readiness for work and occupational training, to improve the foundational skills valued by employers and educators, and to earn a nationally recognized credential through the WorkKeys Assessments.

ACR Serves four main stakeholders:






Job Seekers

With ACR

  • Students and job seekers can evaluate their “career readiness”
  • Job seekers get a competitive edge earning a credential - proving to employers that they have the right skills and right attitude for the job
  • Employers can take the guesswork out of hiring, using to hire, train, and retain the most qualified employees
  • Educators can help ensure students are ready for the workplace

ACR Objectives

  • Strengthening the Workforce
    • Future and Existing
    • Help new and existing businesses meet their workforce needs
    • Identify gaps between student/job seekers skills and employer needs
    • Bridge the gap
  • To connect education, employers, and job seekers

Provide Educators & Employers

  • A means to assess the student and job seekers current skills and methods to improve
  • Increase the number of qualified applicants
  • Help connect the right people in the right positions
  • Give employers a competitive edge
    • Reducing turnover
    • Reduces employee training costs
    • Saves hiring time and money
    • Increasing productivity and profitability
    • Hire the right person the first time

Provide Students & Job Seekers

  • Career Information- what foundational academic skills are required for various careers
  • Assessments - to measure skill levels
  • Instruction - to enhance skills
  • Credential - opportunity to document skills by earning a National Career Readiness Certificate

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What is WorkKeys

Act Work Ready

Why WorkKeys?

Employers seek employees who are trainable and who have "more math" or "better reading skills." ACT's Work Readiness system helps individuals achieve workplace success - improving the overall quality and readiness of the American Workforce.

ACT WorkKeys system was created to devise a common metric and common language to speak about job skills, so that employers, job seekers, students, and educators are all speaking the same language when talking about skills in the workplace.

  • Developed by the ACT Corporation
  • Job skills measurement system
  • Measures "real-world" foundational skills critical to job success
  • Skills needed for any occupation- skilled or professional- and at any level of education

ACT WorkKeys Assessments

ACT offers 11 workplace assessments, that measure "real world" skills that employers believe are critical to job success. View and learn more information.

  • Reading for Information
  • Locating Information
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Listening for Understanding
  • Workplace Observation
  • Business Writing
  • Teamwork
  • Applied Technology
  • Talent
  • Fit
  • Performance

ACT researched more than 18,000 occupations and found reading, math, and locating information skills to be highly important to the majority of jobs in the workplace. 77% of ACT profiled jobs utilize all of these foundational workplace skills.

Reading for Information

  • Measures comprehension and reasoning skills when reading written text on the job.
  • Assessed on a level Score of 3-7
  • The reading materials at Level 3 are short and direct. The material becomes longer, denser, and more difficult to use as readers move toward Level 7. The tasks also become more complex as readers move from Level 3 to Level 7. At Level 3, readers begin by finding very obvious details and following short instructions. At the more complex levels, tasks can also involve more application and interpretation.

Applied Mathematics

  • Measures skill in applying mathematical reasoning, critical thinking and problem-solving techniques - from basic to multiple step math functions.
  • Assessed on a level Score of 3-7
  • At Level 3, examinees solve problems that require a single type of mathematics operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) using whole numbers. At Level 7, examinees may solve problems set up and manipulate complex rations or proportions. As examinees move from Level 3 to Level 7 there are more mathematical operations, considerable setup, and multiple steps of logic and calculation.

Location Information

  • Measures skill in working with workplace graphics to find and analyze information ‐ a prized skill that is hard to discern in a job interview
  • Assessed on a level Score of 3-6
  • At Level 3, examinees look for information in simple graphics and fill in information that is missing from simple graphics. At Level 6, examinees may use the information in one or more complex graphics to draw conclusions and make decisions. The complexity can also increase as the quantity and/or density of the information increases.

Level Scores: There are four to five levels of difficulty. Level scores range from the least complex to most complex building on each other, each incorporating the skills assessed at the preceding levels. For example, at Level 5, individuals need the skills from Levels 3, 4, and 5. The higher the scores, the greater the ability for an individual to perform more complex tasks and qualify for a broader range of jobs. View sample individual score reports.

Training and Currriculum: The Career Ready 101/KeyTrain curriculum is comprised of 4 parts; KeyTrain Foundational Skills aligned to the WorkKeys system, Career and Life Skills, Job Search Skills, and Career Exploration. The KeyTrain Foundational Skills offers help to individuals to develop their skills, improve their scores and prepare them for the job they want. The curriculum is free and can be accessed from any computer, anywhere, anytime.

For more information, go to KeyTrain.

National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC): Is issued by ACT, is a portable, evidence-based credential that measures essential workplace skills and is a reliable predictor of workplace success. To earn a National Career Readiness Certificate, an individual will need to take three proctored assessments ‐ Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information. There are four credential levels ‐ bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.

For more information, go to NCRC.

Job Analysis (Job Profiling): Job profiling is the process for identifying the fundamental skills and skill levels necessary for a specific job/occupation or curriculum. ACT trains people to become certified Job Profilers. These profilers then may contract out with employers to perform WorkKeys job profiles. Tells you which real world skills are needed for the job.

For more information, go to Employers.

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Alaska Dept. of Education
& Early Development

801 West 10th Street, Suite 200
PO Box 110500
Juneau, AK 99811-0500
Telephone: (907) 465-6410

A partnership between



Alaska Dept. of Labor
& Workforce Development

1111 West 8th Street
PO Box 115509
Juneau, AK 99811-5509
Telephone: (907) 465-5948