WorkKeys® for Employers


What Is WorkKeys?

WorkKeys®, developed by ACT®, measures the skills that are crucial for job success. Over 17,000 occupations have been profiled to identify the skills needed to learn and perform on the job.
WorkKeys assessments are available for ten skill areas:  

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Reading for Information
  • Locating Information
  • Teamwork
  • Workplace Observation
  • Applied Technology
  • Observation
  • Listening
  • Business Writing
  • Writing

In Northern Tier Pennsylvania, Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information and Locating Information are core components because they measure the skills valuable for any occupation and seen by employers as crucial basic skills. Successful completion in all three assessments will result in a Career Readiness Certificate (CRC).

Northern Tier WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate

WorkKeys Certificates

The Central Pennsylvania Career Readiness Certificate is awarded on four levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Each level of certificate builds upon the previous and provides a snapshot of the recipients' capabilities. The certificate is endorsed by the Northern Tier  Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board.

National Career Readiness Certificate
The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) was introduced in Northern Tier Pennsylvania in early 2010. The NCRC is also awarded on the four levels of Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

For Employers

The WorkKeys® Career Readiness Assessments provide you with a uniform measure of key workplace skills so that you can make informed decisions about hiring, training, developing, promoting and retaining qualified employees. 

In 2010, NTPRDC  began using WorkKeys as part of its strategy to build a strong workforce for Northern Tier Pennsylvania’s employers. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry recognized the positive impact of the Northern Tier Pennsylvania initiative and has begun implementing the WorkKeys system statewide. 


  • Streamline your hiring process and reduce costs and time 
  • Increase exposure for job advertisement
  • Increase productivity and reduce waste by identifying current employees’ skill levels and the tasks they perform
  • Reduce employee turnover
  • Decrease employee overtime
  • Identify employee strengths and training needs
  • Improve effectiveness of training dollars by pinpointing specific areas for employee improvement
  • Identify employee commitment to continuous improvement
  • Make well informed promotion decisions
  • Meets EEOC requirement for profiled jobs

Assessments Available

Because no two businesses have identical selection and development needs, we can customize the WorkKeys system to help you reach your hiring and training goals. The customization of this service is founded on the skill benchmarks required for your jobs and the use of the following assessments: 

Foundational Skills Assessments measure different applied job skills in the areas of communication, problem-solving and interpersonal skills. Skills assessed in Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information and Locating Information can result in a Career Readiness Certificate at a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum level. For a complete list of available assessments and detailed descriptions please visit WorkKeys Foundational Skills Assessments

Personal Skills Assessments are designed to predict job behavior and measure the full potential of individuals. For more information about these assessments please visit WorkKeys Personal Skills Assessments

The WorkKeys system can be used to help you streamline the hiring process; identify the training needs of current staff and evaluate current employees for potential promotion; and identify the skill benchmarks for specific jobs in your organization through job analysis. 

Job Analysis

Job Analysis is the process used to identify the skills requirements needed for an employee to be successful in performing a specific job. If the jobs that you have are not currently profiled, NTRPDC can connect you with an ACT authorized WorkKeys Job Profiler.
Learn how other employers and organizations have successfully implemented the WorkKeys system.
Read more>>

Get Started

To learn more about how WorkKeys can be customized for your organization, please complete the:  Employer Interest Form

NTRPC began accepting Northern Tier Pennsylvania employer endorsements of the WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificates in 2011.

FAQs by Employers:

Why is a Career Readiness Certificate needed?
Employers have expressed great concern about the skills gap that exists between those skills required on the job and those exhibited by potential and incumbent workers. Based on resumes and applications alone, employers experience difficulty in hiring people who have basic employability skills and who are therefore trainable for specific jobs. The Career Readiness Certificate is a portable skills credential, ensuring employers of a job seeker’s skills.

Why use the WorkKeys assessments to certify employability skills?
WorkKeys has become a widely accepted common language for skills definition among employers, educators/trainers, and potential/incumbent employees. The power of the WorkKeys system lies in its: 1) objectivity, 2) simplicity, 3) compliance with federal law (ADA, EEOC), and 4) legal defensibility.

WorkKeys can supplement a high school diploma, a GED, post-secondary credential, and/or a college degree by demonstrating to an employer an individual’s foundational skills.

Across nine assessments, WorkKeys skill levels are described in terms of single digit numbers whose meanings are clearly defined and readily accessible. There are three components to the WorkKeys system:

1. Job profiling which identifies the basic employability skills required on the job
2. Assessment of skill levels of potential or incumbent workers
3. Training to close any skills gap that exists between the skills required and those demonstrated.
This latter component is efficient and cost effective because training is done ONLY in the specific skills areas where it is required.

Why a tiered approach to Career Readiness credentialing?
A tiered model for a portable credential allows for a progression of development, therefore we have created a four-tiered (bronze, silver, gold and platinum) Career Readiness Certificate based on the four assessments listed above.

Why is The Certificate based on the Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information skills?
ACT has profiled thousands of individual jobs across the country to determine the skills and skill levels needed to succeed in them. According to ACT findings, 85% of jobs highly rely on the following three skills:

Reading for Information—comprehending work-related reading materials, from memos and bulletins to policy manuals and governmental regulations.

Applied Mathematics—applying mathematical reasoning to work-related problems.

Locating Information—using information from such materials as diagrams, floor plans, tables, forms, graphs, and charts.

Why should employers accept the Career Readiness Certificate?
The Certificate is a portable credential that shows employers anywhere in the United States that career seekers have attained a certain level of workplace employability skills in Reading for Information, Applied Mathematics, and Locating Information.