National Work Readiness Council to Partner with 
the State of Tennessee to Certify Students as Career Ready

January 26, 2022
Nashville, TN — The Tennessee Department of Education has issued an intent to award the National Work Readiness Council (Council) the opportunity to collaborate with local school districts and public charter schools to certify that Tennessee students are career ready. Under the new Tennessee Work Ready Opportunity Program, which became law in May 2021, the initiative leverages federal funding for nationally recognized assessments to validate high school student career readiness and to support students and their families in making more informed choices about potential career pathways. 

“Skills – not just what you know, but what you can do – are now the universal career currency. To ensure all students every opportunity, we must ensure all students have the foundational workplace skills employers require before graduating from high school,” said Council Executive Director Joe Mizereck. “The Council applauds Governor Lee, the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, and the Tennessee Department of Education for their forward-thinking approach to preparing Tennessee’s future jobseekers for the future of work.” 

The Council’s Tennessee career readiness solution includes four qualifying assessments resulting in the National Work Readiness Credential (NWRC), the only nationally recognized career readiness credential validating both the foundational workplace skills and soft skills most in-demand by employers today. 

The career-contextualized NWRC assessments are different than academic end-of-course exams, TCAP tests, or college entrance exams. The NWRC assessments go beyond concept knowledge and measure the ability of students to apply the foundational workplace skills required across occupations and industries.

The NWRC benchmarks workplace skills including:
  • Essential Soft Skills – also commonly called professional skills, durable skills, power skills, or work habits – including effective communication, professionalism, teamwork and collaboration, and thinking critically and solving problems in workplace settings. 
  • Work Ready Math Skills to solve real-life workplace problems including calculating sizes, quantities, and costs; evaluating information and results to determine the best solution; reviewing the accuracy of transactions; and informing operational activities. 
  • Work Ready Reading Skills including understanding and interpreting written workplace text such as memos, schedules, company policies, and technical manuals to obtain information and apply new knowledge to the job; follow instructions in complex procedural documents; and explain and apply regulations, policies, and procedures. 
  • Work Ready Data Skills including understanding and interpreting workplace data presented in forms, workflows, diagrams, charts, and graphs including identifying trends and relationships among variables; interpreting research and operational data; and reviewing technical drawings and specifications. 

Uniquely aligned to O*NET, the nation’s leading source of occupational data, the NWRC assessment results will also advance student / family career exploration and planning.

To learn more, call toll-free 800.761.0907 and select prompt 1, email, or visit

About the National Work Readiness Council
The National Work Readiness Council is a national nonprofit workforce development, training, and advocacy organization formed in 2003 and incorporated in 2006 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in partnership with a coalition of workforce professionals, employers, state chambers of commerce, and educators nationwide. Today, Council-inspired career readiness solutions are transforming America's workforce. For more information, follow us on Twitter @WorkReadiness.