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Charlotte County Named Certified Work Ready Community
Work Ready Community Photo
Workforce development partners celebrating Charlotte County’s designation as an ACT Certified Work Ready Community  - Pictured (left to right) Dr. Julie Brown (Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, or IALR), Dr. Keith Harkins (Southside Virginia Community College), Terra Napier, (Virginia Career Works South Central Region), Debra Crowder (South Central Workforce Development Board), Dr. Megan Healy (Office of the Governor), Dan Witt (Charlotte County), Garland Hamlett and Butch Shook (Charlotte County Board of Supervisors), Monica Elder (Charlotte County), Robbie Mason (Charlotte County Public Schools) and Lee Ann Mahan (IALR).
 
February 7, 2020 - Charlotte County and the Dan River Region Collaborative (DRRC) are pleased to announce that Charlotte County has been designated as a Certified Work Ready Community (WRC). The nationally recognized designation by the Commonwealth of Virginia and American College Testing (ACT) will help Charlotte County attract new businesses and jobs in addition to strengthening the skill sets of the region’s high school students, job seekers and incumbent workforce.  

Partners like the DRRC, Charlotte County Public Schools, Southside Virginia Community College, South Central Workforce Development Board, and regional employers supported Charlotte County’s efforts to achieve this important national certification. Some of the supportive regional employers include Morgan Lumber Company Inc. and Red Oak Excavating Inc. To become certified, a locality must achieve benchmarks in three areas of performance: high school graduation rate, number of ACT National Career Readiness Certificate™ (ACT NCRC®) credentials attained in the locality and number of employers recognizing the NCRC.   

“Charlotte County has been a tremendous partner in the effort to showcase the skilled talent of the region to new and existing employers,” said Dr. Julie Brown, Program Director of the DRRC and Director of Advanced Learning at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. “We are delighted with their certification by ACT as a Work Ready Community.”  

The WRC effort is a voluntary initiative guided by key community leaders – local elected officials, economic development teams, business leaders, chambers of commerce, educators and workforce development agencies. At the core of the ACT Work Ready Communities initiative is the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (ACT NCRC). Since January 2006, more than four million Americans have earned an ACT NCRC. This national, portable credential includes three essential workplace skill categories: applied math, workplace documents, and graphic literacy.    

Four years ago, Site Selection Magazine added the number of National Career Readiness Certificates per 1,000 residents as one of five criteria used in its tabulations for its annual Workforce Development Rankings. This year, Virginia ranked as the top state in the Atlantic region, scoring ahead of highly competitive states such as Florida, North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware. 

Companies are seeing the benefit of the Work Ready Community effort which provides a system to verify work readiness, matching the skill level of prospective workers to the skill set required for a specific job. Improved recruitment, reductions in new-hire turnover, and improvements in employee engagement are just a few of the positive outcomes more than 504 companies across the region are experiencing. Such companies include Owens-Illinois, Eastman Chemical Company, Essel Propack, Amthor International and Ten Oaks LLC.  

“I want to thank the Certified Work Ready Communities Program personnel for all their hard work to qualify Charlotte County to become a Certified Work Ready Community,” said Daniel Witt, Charlotte County Administrator. “Charlotte County plans to use the designation as a means for economic development to assist existing businesses in both retention and expansion and as a recruitment tool for new businesses.”  

"Southside Virginia Community College applauds this significant achievement for Charlotte County.  As the host of our main campus in Keysville, Charlotte County is a key partner in the future success of our college,” said Dr. Keith Harkins, Vice President of Workforce Development and Interim Vice President of Academics at Southside Virginia Community College. “This designation will help all of us who are focused on improving the lives of our citizens deliver on our mission."  

In addition to serving existing companies, the Work Ready Community effort provides a third-party validated, data-driven system for economic developers to talk about the skill level of the region’s workforce. This effort supports the Commonwealth’s goal of expanding the number of Virginians who hold industry certifications that have value to employers. As the region considers further workforce investments and expanding the number of citizens with in-demand certifications, use of the National Career Readiness Certificate demonstrates that Charlotte County has a qualified and trainable workforce.  

In addition to Charlotte County, the counties of Brunswick, Mecklenburg, Lunenburg, Amelia, Patrick, Henry, Halifax and Pittsylvania as well as the cities of Danville and Martinsville have been certified as Work Ready Communities. Other Commonwealth localities have launched their WRC initiatives and are on target to reach WRC status in the near future.    

For more information on the WRC initiative, contact Dr. Julie Brown at Julie.brown@ialr.org or 434.766.6711.  
 
Daniel Witt Serving as Charlotte County's New County Administrator
 
Daniel “Dan” Witt has settled in as Charlotte County Administrator after starting the top job on September 24, 2018. Witt joined Charlotte County after serving as Town of Altavista Assistant Town Manager since 2003. Prior to that Witt spent 11 years working in the City of Lynchburg’s Juvenile Justice System. With the Town of Altavista, Witt served as the Zoning Administrator and Staff Planner; managed the Altavista Community Transit System; provided staff support to the Board of Zoning Appeals; submitted successful grant applications to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Department of Historic Resources (DHR), Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program; managed the Town’s 5-year Capital Improvement Projects budget; and served as project manager for recreation, streetscape, downtown revitalization and utility projects.

Witt holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Liberty University. He is a member of several professional organizations including the Virginia Local Government Management Association and the Virginia Association of Counties and has plans to join the International City/County Management Association.

Witt’s wife of 32 years, Donna, is the Chief Financial Officer for the City of Lynchburg and they have two grown, married sons and 3 grandsons. Witt loves the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and in his spare time travels and speaks at outdoor events. When Witt was 14, his father Walt was tragically killed in a hunting accident. Witt and his brother Mark now share their story at outdoor events - how their faith sustained them after the accident and the importance of hunters’ safety. Their story, “Following our Father,” was featured in Field and Stream Magazine in 2011.

“I’m very thankful for this opportunity to serve the citizens in Charlotte County and appreciate the confidence the Board has in me to successfully lead the organization,” Witt said. Witt replaced R.B. Clark who retired on June 30, 2018, having served as Charlotte County Administrator for 37 years.