The Attala Center of Holmes Community College (Holmes CC) and the Kosciusko Attala Partnership (KAP) are collaborating to launch Attala Works, an initiative aimed to measure, engage, and enhance the workforce in Attala County, Mississippi.

Working through the framework of ACT’s Work Ready Community (WRC) certification program, Attala Works will connect businesses, job-seekers, and key stakeholders in the community to ensure maximum participation. The focal point of the program is the National Career Readiness Certification System, which utilizes ACT’s WorkKeys exams, a series of job skills assessments.

The National Career Readiness Certificate utilizes four WorkKeys exams: Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, Business Writing, and Reading for Information. Participants are awarded certificates of Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels, depending on their scores. 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%.

“Workforce is paramount in today’s economic development landscape,” said KAP CEO Kel McDowell. “It is one of the most important factors for those doing business and also those evaluating where to do business.”

“Attala Works gives our employers and key decision-makers a springboard to properly define, further develop, and connect with our workforce.”

The WRC program sets individual benchmarks for communities working towards certification. Each community is expected to proctor WorkKeys exams for a set proportion of both job-seekers and those currently employed. Attala Works’ leadership team will be working towards meeting the certification benchmarks.

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Kicking-off Attala Works, two workshops are scheduled at The Attala Center of Holmes CC in early August. The first, at 10:30 am on Wednesday, August 3, will be a half-hour session geared towards employers in Attala County. During the session, employers will be briefed on Attala Works, WorkKeys, and how to best utilize the program. The second, at 10:00am on Wednesday, August 10, is open to the general public. Throughout that session, a team from Holmes CC will lead an overview of the opportunities available through the Attala County facility and WorkKeys assessment.

“We are energized by our ongoing programs, and those soon to be launched,” said Holmes CC Attala Center Director Nancy McRight. “In addition to full-time programs in nursing and business management technology, the Attala Center aims to be a leader in workforce development, most recently with a graduating class in welding.”

The WRC program instructs the formation of a leadership committee representing a variety of sectors. A variety of community leaders represent the Attala Works Committee. In addition to McDowell and McRight, the committee is led by: Taylor Casey, Ward 1 Alderman, City of Kosciusko; Andrea Myers, Branch Director, Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES); Danny Brunt, Vice President of Human Resources, Ivey Mechanical Company; Gina Rogers Smith, Superintendent, Kosciusko School District; and Earline Smith, Workforce Coordinator, Holmes CC.


A non-profit organization, the Kosciusko Attala Partnership (KAP) engages in economic and community development activities in Attala County, Mississippi. Its overarching goal is the ever-pursuit of enhancing its community as a place to live, work, and succeed. KAP’s office is located at 101 N. Natchez Street in Kosciusko and can be found online at www.kapartnership.org.

Holmes Community College, a comprehensive public institution located in Central Mississippi, provides innovative educational and cultural opportunities to its constituents through campus-based and distance education programs. The 91-year-old college seeks to prepare its students for university transfer, productive employment and lifelong learning by offering an Associate of Arts degree, an Associate of Applied Science degree, technical certificates and career certificates, as well as workforce training. Holmes, whose primary commitment is to excellence in all areas, offers affordable, equal access to higher education in an attractive, secure, multi-campus environment.

The main campus is located in Goodman, with other locations in Ridgeland, Grenada, Kosciusko, Yazoo City, and Mathiston. Holmes is committed to serving not only its students, but all citizens throughout its nine-county district. For more information, visit www.holmescc.edu or call 1-800-Holmes 4.

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