Gov. Jay Nixon was in Franklin County last week to congratulate the county for earning the designation of a Certified Work-Ready Community by American College Testing. The program was held at CG Power Systems in Washington, which is a successful and growing company that makes power transformers.

Franklin County is one of several counties in the country to earn this certification. Missouri has the distinction of having four out of the first five counties in the nation to receive this designation. Other Missouri counties are on track to become fully certified within two years.

In 2012, Missouri was selected as one of the first four states to participate in the Certified Work-Ready Communities initiative by ACT. The initiative aligns work force training with the economic development needs of communities; matches appropriate applicants to jobs based on skill level; and strengthens businesses by improving the work force. It is a program in which economic development efforts join in a partnership with education resources to improve the work force by giving workers the skills needed in today’s global economy. At the forefront in this area is East Central College and the Four Rivers Career Center.

The program, simply put, brings together workers, businesses and educational resources to develop a quality work force.

While here, Gov. Nixon announced that his balanced budget proposal for fiscal year 2015 will include $4.5 million in additional resources for Missouri Works Training, which provides customized training opportunities to companies creating or retaining jobs in the state.

Gov. Nixon is a strong proponent of having a skilled work force to retain companies and to promote activities to attract new and expanding industries. It’s all about job creation and retention. He recognizes what must be done to not only compete but lead in economic development. Gov. Nixon and all of the entities and officials involved in earning the designation of a Certified Work-Ready Community deserve congratulations for their efforts.