SNEEDVILLE — On Wednesday, the First Tennessee Development District board hosted a press conference to announce two exciting milestones in workforce development.

Hancock Co. Mayor Tom Harrison announced that Hancock County has achieved work ready certification status by ACT, Inc.

Hancock becomes only the 16th county in Tennessee to achieve this economic development distinction, with only 10% of the counties and parishes in the United States holding this status.

Counties work with business and education to ensure students and residents have an opportunity to earn the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) which is foundational to the work ready certification.

Hancock achieved its goals in the areas of emerging (students), transitional (unemployed) and current workers who have taken the work keys tests to achieve the NCRC.

Also, the goal for the number of businesses supporting work ready was met. Site selectors are looking for a qualified workforce as they seek where to locate businesses.

Existing businesses are looking to hire the best employees and the NCRC helps with both.

In addition, Dr. Bethany Flora, president of Northeast State Community College, announced the college would begin giving three college credit hours to NCRC holders. Students working toward an Industrial Technologies Associate of Applied Science degree or embedded certificate will quality for this opportunity. Areas of concentration include advanced manufacturing, auto body, automotive, chemical process operations, engineering design, machine tool, mechanical and welding.

The process for awarding credit is in place for the spring semester beginning in January. This is one more way that college is becoming more affordable in Tennessee and that NESCC is supporting businesses in Northeast Tennessee.

For more information, contact Lottie Ryans, Director Workforce & Literacy Initiatives at lryans@ftdd.org.