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May 28, 2009
State Offers Incentive for Jobless Workers with ‘Work Ready' Certificate

The state of Georgia is offering as much as $100 to unemployed workers who complete the state‘s new program designed to help them jumpstart their job search, develop confidence, and gain a competitive advantage in the job market.

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Be Work Ready provides unemployed Georgians a monetary incentive for either earning a Work Ready Certificate or improving their skills through free, online Work Ready skills gap training. Funding for the initiative is provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

When an individual earns a bronze, silver, or gold level Work Ready Certificate, they are eligible for a $50 incentive; those who earn platinum are eligible for $100. When an individual improves their Work Ready Certificate level in any way, they are eligible for a $100 incentive. The incentive, in the form of a gift card, can be used to offset job search expenses.

"Georgia is leading the nation in workforce development and is committed to helping our citizens develop the skills that serve as the foundation to a successful job search," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "Be Work Ready is meant to inject confidence into Georgia's unemployed population, cultivating a skilled and qualified workforce for business and driving economic development throughout the state."

Be Work Ready is available to those age 18 or older who are currently unemployed and have earned a Work Ready Certificate and/or improved their Work Ready Certificate level through skills gap training. Those who have earned a Work Ready Certificate since Sept. 1, 2008 are also eligible to apply. Individuals answer a short questionnaire and fill out an application form at www.begaworkready.org to qualify.

Job seekers can also post their Work Ready qualifications at the site and select a target industry where employers throughout the state will be able to access this information and contact candidates about available jobs.

"The certificate tells employers that Work Ready Certified job seekers possess the skills necessary to hit the ground running and are ready to take on more challenging tasks," said Debra Lyons, director of the Governor's Office of Workforce Development. "By closing the skills gap and increasing life-long learning in Georgia, employers will have a long-term pipeline of skilled and educated workers to take on today's jobs and tomorrow's innovations."

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