Every junior and senior attending Lowndes County high schools will have the opportunity to take the WorkKeys Test beginning in March.
The Lowndes County School District board voted unanimously Friday to offer the test to upperclassmen following a presentation by Macaulay Whitaker, vice president of internal and external affairs with the Golden Triangle Development LINK.
The test measures students’ aptitude to succeed in manufacturing fields.
“Our industries here have identified WorkKeys as their barometer for hiring,” Whitaker told the LCSD board, noting that the WorkKeys Test is developed by the ACT.
A silver rating on the WorkKeys Test is listed as a requirement for the recently posted production line positions with the new Yokohama plant in West Point.
Whitaker said the LINK will put up $5,000 to help pay for LCSD students to pay for the $50 test — that means the LINK will pay $25 toward every LCSD student’s test bill. The LINK advised the board to not seek grant money to pay for the remainder of the student test fees. Whitaker said the LINK believes students will take the test more seriously if they pay for part of the test themselves.
LCSD superintendent Lynn Wright said the test is “a great idea.” The district met with Whitaker in December, when she proposed the WorkKeys test being offered district-wide. LCSD warmed to the idea immediately, and met with district principals, counselors and STEM teachers to get their take. Everyone was on board.
Whitaker proposed the district offer the test for high school juniors every year. This year, the test will be offered for juniors and seniors. The test will be held March 18,19 and 20 at all three LCSD high schools — West Lowndes, Caledonia and New Hope.
LCSD will work with the LINK and East Mississippi Community College to help students take the Basic Manufacturing Skills test, another common manufacturing industry prerequisite, at EMCC the summer after taking the WorkKeys test.