On Wednesday, August 3 The Attala Center of Holmes Community College hosted employers, elected officials, and community stakeholders for a kickoff info session regarding Attala Works, a collaborative workforce initiative with the Kosciusko Attala Partnership.

By Kel McDowell, CEO, Kosciusko Attala Partnership:


In today’s economic landscape, workforce is paramount.

And for both our existing employers and those assessing where to do business – Attala County is no exception.

This is why the Kosciusko Attala Partnership (KAP) and The Attala Center of Holmes Community College (Holmes CC Attala) have launched Attala Works, an initiative through the ACT Work Ready Community certification program that aims to measure, engage, and enhance the workforce of our community.

Attala Works utilizes ACT’s Career Readiness Certification (CRC) credential. The CRC is built on a series of WorkKeys exams, with participants awarded certificates of Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze levels. According to ACT, those scoring at the Bronze level qualify for roughly 35% of the jobs profiled by WorkKeys. Silver level indicates the skills necessary for about 65% of profiled jobs, while Gold reflects the skills for 90%.

Importantly, Holmes CC Attala proctors the CRC for both job-seekers and those currently employed at no cost.

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In so many ways, Attala Works is a first step. We are currently working towards a widespread system through which our community’s employers – both large and small – direct current and prospective employees towards the CRC. In turn, that will give us a proper read of Attala County’s workforce.

Currently, decision-makers have to rely on anecdotal and qualitative information regarding the status of our workforce. Through the data provided by the CRC, we will have a more definable understanding of our labor pool and can properly take next steps.

With the CRC, both employers and job-seekers in our community gain a valuable tool. More, employers can define their workforce and identify the skills they need. The assessments provide trusted measures of work readiness, and hiring/advancement thresholds can also be implemented.

Job-seekers can bolster their own chances of being hired by obtaining a key credential. The CRC can also be utilized for possible promotion or coupled with other opportunities.

Since its opening in November 2015, Holmes CC Attala has offered a plethora of opportunities to our community. In addition to programs in welding and truck driving, full-time curricula in nursing and business management technology begin this fall. Attala Works provides an excellent pipeline to plug our community’s workforce into those opportunities, GED testing, and more at the Attala Center.For KAP, Attala County becoming an ACT Work Ready Community will be an invaluable tool in demonstrating our community’s dedication to enhancing its workforce. More, over time, Attala Works will enable our community leaders to tout confirmation of a talented workforce to prospective business and industry.

On Wednesday, August 3, we had a phenomenal turnout at the Attala Center for Attala Works’ launch. A packed house of business/industrial representatives, elected officials, and community stakeholders were on-hand to learn about the initiative and formally express their support.

That buy-in, from our local leaders and also members of our community in all phases of employment, is the key to Attala Works’ success.

Let’s get to work!


Kel McDowell is the CEO of KAP. For questions regarding Attala Works, CRC, and other opportunities, please contact KAP at (662) 289-2981 or Holmes CC Attala at (662) 290-0808.

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