Department of Labor and Regulation

Title - Workforce Training & Education

National Career Readiness Certificate

About the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC™)
Gov. Daugaard Support
Information for Job Seekers
Information for Employers
Employer Support
Other Resources
Contact Us

About the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC™)

The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC™) is an industry-recognized, portable, evidence-based credential that certifies essential skills necessary for workplace success. This credential is used across all sectors of the economy and verifies the following cognitive skills:

  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Reading and using work-related text
  • Applying information from workplace documents to solve problems
  • Applying mathematical reasoning to work-related problems
  • Setting up and performing work-related mathematical calculations
  • Locating, synthesizing and applying information presented graphically
  • Comparing, summarizing and analyzing information presented in multiple related graphics

Individuals can earn the NCRC by taking three WorkKeys® assessments:

WorkKeys assessments measure real world skills employers believe are critical to job success. Test questions are based on situations in the everyday work world. Learn more about each of the assessments and view sample questions on the ACT website.

Gov. Daugaard Support

Read a column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard about the value of the NCRC.

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Information for Job Seekers

Benefits of the NCRC for Individuals

The NCRC offers individuals, employers and educators an easily understood and nationally valued credential certifying essential workplace skills. The Certificate is designed to complement other traditional credentials, such as a high school diploma, community college degree, or college degree. While these education credentials mark the fulfillment of classroom learning experiences, the NCRC proves job seekers and employees have the workplace skills needed to succeed on the job.

WorkKeys Assessment

The WorkKeys assessment system, developed by ACT, is the leading job skills assessment system in the nation. These assessments measure real world foundational skills critical to job success, regardless of occupation. WorkKeys assessments can provide reliable, relevant information about an individual’s workplace skill levels.

WorkKeys also offers job analysis to identify skills required for jobs, and training to correct skill gaps. ACT has profiled more than 20,000 individual jobs across the country to determine the skill being used and the level needed for job success. According to ACT findings, three skills are essential to nearly every job: applied mathematics, locating information, and reading for information.

Applied Mathematics sample questions

Locating Information sample questions

Reading for Information sample questions

WorkKeys assessments are considered high-stakes exams. They are proctored by a statewide network of providers contracted by the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation.

Find a WorkKeys provider in South Dakota.

Preparing for the WorkKeys Assessment: KeyTrain®

KeyTrain is a comprehensive, easy-to-use system for improving the basic skills measured by the WorkKeys Assessment System. Using KeyTrain, individuals can assess their potential WorkKeys score, review topics in each WorkKeys skill area, and practice with item types similar to those found on an actual WorkKeys assessment.

The KeyTrain system includes targeted, self-paced instruction, pre- and post-assessments, a complete learning management system, and an occupational job profile database. These components can help individuals learn, practice and demonstrate the skills they need to succeed in the jobs and career they desire.

Getting Started

For more information on how to acquire a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), contact any South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation local office.

Sharing Your Achievement with Employers

Certificates can be shared with prospective employers in person or by including the information on a résumé and referencing the achievement on job applications. All certificate holders are encouraged to access their online account to share the certificate electronically and to manage account details. If you are unable to access your online account, please call ACT at 800.967.5539.

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Information for Employers

Using the NCRC as a Staffing Tool

  • Screening – Employers interview only applicants who have the skills required for the job.
  • Hiring and promotion – Employers use the NCRC as a plus factor to help make selection and promotion decisions.
  • Targeting employee training and development – Employers target their training budgets for job-specific skills rather than basic skills.

ACT has one of the largest, most robust occupational profiles databases available. More than 20,000 positions have been profiled by ACT-authorized job profilers. Extensive research has identified the essential skills and skill levels for each job. That information can be used in employee selection, hiring, and training. Employers can identify the skills needed for their employees to be successful on the job by accessing the occupational profiles database.

Using the NCRC for Economic Development

Establishing strategies that create jobs and raise wage rates is the primary mission of economic development. Information generated by adopting the National Career Readiness System helps states and regions fulfill this mission by:

  • Documenting workforce quality for relocating and expanding businesses
  • Providing local businesses with a better-trained workforce
  • Helping employers plan and address existing and future employment needs

By participating in the NCRC project and completing the WorkKeys Assessments, organizations can gather data identifying foundational skill levels. This skill level data can be used to target training efforts, improve high school graduation rates, educate individuals and businesses regarding the value of an NCRC, or address other specific local workforce issues. Utilizing the NCRC system not only identifies the skills necessary for a qualified workforce, but also provides a framework for maintaining or improving those skills.

The availability of skilled labor is a major factor in helping business executives and economic development consultants identify the best locations for expansion and relocation. Information generated by the National Career Readiness Certificate represents a unique source of objective data describing workforce skills. This makes it a powerful component in strategic planning and marketing activities at the local, regional or state levels.

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Employer Support

South Dakota employers who would like to join the effort in recognizing, recommending or preferring the NCRC as a way to ensure the hiring of a certified and skilled workforce should complete the Employer Letter of Endorsement. (Download here in Microsoft Word or Adobe .pdf format*.)

South Dakota Employer Support

The South Dakota employers listed, by county, below are standing up for a skilled workforce by recognizing, recommending or preferring the NCRC.

Beadle County
Dakota Provisions
Wolsey-Wessington School District 2-6

Brookings County
Deubrook Area Schools
Wireless World (Global Wireless)

Brown County
Molded Fiber Glass
Warner School District
Wireless World (Global Wireless)

Butte County
K & K Kustoms
Ross Rentals, LLC
Scott Peterson Motors, Inc.

Charles Mix County
Commercial State Bank
Family Dollar
Fred Haar Company, Division of C&B Operations
Ft. Randall Federal Credit Union
Inside Scoop
Meyerink Farm Service, Inc.
Midtowne Oil and Wash
Purfectly Imperfect
Wagner Building Supply

Clay County
Wireless World (Global Wireless)

Codington County
Codington County
ESCO Manufacturing

Davison County
Firesteel Healthcare Community by Welcov
Twin City Fan

Day County
Waubay School District 18-3

Dewey County
Timber Lake School District 20-3

Gregory County
South Central School District

Hand County
Miller School District

Hughes County
American Legion Post 8
Anderson Clothing
Beck Motor Company
Capital Journal
City of Pierre
Country Carpet and Flooring
Designing Fire, Inc.
Gateway Ford, Lincoln, and Toyota
Golden Living Center
Governor's Inn
Hire-A-Husband, Inc.
Jake's Good Times Place
KCCR/Riverfront Broadcasting, LLC
Korner Grocery
Midwest Construction, Inc.
Oahe, Inc.
Oahe Child Development Center
Oahe Pawn
Palmer Currier and Hoffert, LLP
Personal Group
Pierre Sports Center
River Cities Public Transit
South Dakota Pulse Processors, LLC
The Right Turn, Inc.
Wegner Auto

Jones County
Jones County School District

Lake County
Wireless World (Global Wireless)

Lawrence County
Spearfish Forest Products

McCook County
McCook Central School District

Meade County
Scott Peterson Motors, Inc.

Minnehaha County
Baltic School District
Dell Rapids School District
Tri-Valley School District
Wirleless World (Global Wireless)

Pennington County
Hill City School District

Stanley County
Ray's Garage
Will Clark Electric

Sully County
Agar-Blunt-Onida School District

Union County
A-1 Quik Stop
Bill Markve Associates
Casey's General Store
City of Elk Point
Elk-Point Jefferson School District
Kum and Go
Los Amigos Restaurant and Bar, LLC
Ollie's Drive Inn
The Pointe

Yankton County
Applied Engineering, Inc.
Gayville-Volin School District
Kolberg-Pioneer, Inc.
Wireless World (Global Wireless)
Yankton High School

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NCRC - flier

NCRC – "Stand Up for a Skilled Workforce" brochure (for employers)

NCRC - "Stand Out from the Crowd" brochure (for job seekers)

NCRC - "Core Assessments for Certification" booklet

NCRC - "Ask for the ACT NCRC work skills credential" (for employers)

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Other Resources

ACT website - for more information on the NCRC and WorkKeys

KeyTrain website

NCRC YouTube Video

Learn about the NCRC Certificate on the Department of Labor and Regulation's YouTube channel.

South Dakota Contacts for More Information

Heather Nelson – Program Specialist (East area - Watertown) 605.882.5131

Barb Unruh – Program Specialist (West area - Pierre) 605.773.3101

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*Opening and printing Adobe .pdf files requires Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here as needed to download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Marcia Hultman, Secretary
123 W. Missouri Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501-4505
Tel. 605.773.3101
Fax. 605.773.6184