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HRD Program Teaches Workplace Skills

Sylvia Hinton-Grant, director of Human Resources Development (HRD) at Edgecombe Community College, instructs a class on problem-solving skills. The college provides free classes on basic workplace skills through its HRD program.

Edgecombe Community College is making it a little easier for job seekers to be successful.

To ensure that job seekers are job ready, the college offers free classes on basic workplace skills through its Human Resources Development program.

“These classes are designed for the unemployed and underemployed adults in our area,” explains Sylvia Hinton-Grant, director of Human Resources Development (HRD) at ECC.

The HRD program focuses on employability skills training, career development counseling, and skill assessment services, along with all essential “soft skills” that are required for employers.

Among the most familiar HRD programs is the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC), a job skills assessment system. The CRC is based on WorkKeys, a nationally recognized skills assessment tool developed by ACT, Inc.

The assessment is divided into four tests: WorkPlace Documents, Applied Mathematics, Graphic Literature, and Applied Technology. The student’s score determines what certificate level is awarded – bronze, silver, gold, or platinum.

The CRC credential gives employers and job seekers a uniform, standard, objective measure of key workplace skills. It certifies that an individual has workplace skills that are transferable between industry sectors and across jobs within a sector.

Hinton-Grant says many employers in the area use the CRC assessment program to determine the skill sets of applicants.

To help job seekers prepare for the tests, ECC offers free CRC prep classes. Students learn basic math skills and reading comprehension as well as time assessment skills, which show how quickly students find things in certain situations.

CRC prep classes are held over three days, and the test is administered on the fourth day.

Edgecombe Community College has offered the Career Readiness Certification program for 20 years. Many ECC academic programs require their students to complete the assessment, and all ECC students are encouraged to take the tests.

Since 2015, the college has awarded nearly 1,900 CRC certificates, and almost 60 percent of these were the silver level. Prior to the pandemic, from 2015 through 2019, about 330 ECC students earned a CRC credential each year. Since the pandemic, these numbers have decreased slightly.

But the Career Readiness Certificate assessment remains an important tool for many employers. Numerous companies in Eastern North Carolina rely on the CRC testing process as part of their application process. In July, for example, ECC tested 24 people for Hitachi-Astemo, formerly Keihin Carolina System Technology.

“Cummins requires it, and so does OIC,” Hinton-Grant says. “I get calls all the time from companies who ask if we know anyone with a CRC who is ready to work.”

Also available through the HRD program are classes that focus on “soft skills, like how to remain calm in an interview, resume writing, and resume building,” she adds.

“In addition, we teach ‘employability skills,’ such as teamwork and problem solving,” she continues. “Another class called ‘Working Smart’ focuses on how to deal with conflict resolution. Instead of flying off the handle, the coursework focuses on helping students strengthen self-management.”

To learn more about Human Resources Development at ECC, please contact Sylvia Hinton-Grant at