About Us

America is facing uncharted economic and workforce development crossroads. To remain globally competitive and advance both community and individual prosperity, our nation must proactively tackle the foundational skills gap that persists and for many has been amplified by the pandemic. 

The National Work Readiness Council is a national nonprofit workforce development, training, and advocacy organization formed in 2003 and officially incorporated in 2006 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Founding partners included the New York Department of Labor; Workforce Florida, now CareerSource Florida; New Jersey Employment and Training Commission; the departments of labor and training for the State of Rhode Island, State of Washington, and the District of Columbia; and Junior Achievement Worldwide. Early funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, the National Institute for Literacy, and the founding partners.

The initial vision was to introduce a nationally recognized, portable credential validating jobseeker readiness for entry-level employment. The Council convened employers across industries, chambers of commerce, unions, educators, and workforce training professionals nationwide and built a common language and standards to define foundational career readiness. The vision was further informed by collaborative partner research including, but not limited to, the U.S. Department of Labor O*NET Content Model; U.S. Department of Labor Building Blocks Competency Model; U.S. Department of Education Employability Skills Framework; National Network Business and Industry Associations Common Employability Skills; and Center for Literacy, Education and Employment Equipped for the Future standards.

Based on this extensive compilation of business and industry informed research, the Council engaged the assessment and certification expertise of Castle Worldwide (recently acquired by Scantron Corporation) to lead the design and development of a series of assessments to measure mastery of foundational work readiness. The resulting valid and reliable assessments - NWRC Math, NWRC Reading, NWRC Listening, and NWRC Situational Judgment - became the qualifying assessments for the introduction in 2006 of the pioneering National Work Readiness Credential.

Today, NWRC-inspired career readiness solutions are transforming America's workforce, and the National Work Readiness Credential has evolved as the only nationally recognized credential validating foundational employability and soft skills readiness for technical training, apprenticeship, and employment.


Looking ahead, the Council is focused on:

  • Building a coalition of like-minded professionals to amplify foundational career readiness policy with emphasis on durable skills - more commonly known as essential soft skills or professional skills.
  • Collaboratively developing and implementing high-impact, scalable, and sustainable foundational career readiness programming solutions.
  • Sharing and advancing the replication of foundational career readiness best practices through education and workforce stakeholder, media, and community outreach.