workkeys (low res)The North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development adopted the ACT WorkKeys, a fee-for-service, in 2006 as a tool to screen and help identify the best individual for an open position. Since 2006, NCWWDB has administered 11,272 WorkKeys assessments. Of the 11,272 assessments administered, 746 received their National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC).


Developed by ACT, WorkKeys® Assessments are the cornerstone of ACT workforce solutions. The assessments measure foundational skills required for success int he workplace, and help measure the workplace skills that can affect job performance. WorkKeys assessments are:

  • Relevant – WorkKeys® assessments are developed to solve actual workplace problems. Unlike other assessments, they don’t simply give an indication of reading and writing competency. Instead, they measure a range of hard and soft skills relevant to any occupation, at any level, and across industries.
  • Recognized – Successful completion of WorkKeys core assessments can lead to earning an ACT WorkKeys® National Career Readiness Certificate (ACT WorkKeys NCRC) – a credential that verifies the skills found to be most essential across industries and occupations. Tens of thousands of employers recognize the value of the NCRC, and many recommend the credential to candidates.

Each assessment offers varying levels of difficulty. The levels build on each other, incorporating the skills assessed at the previous levels. For example, at Level 5, individuals need the skills from Level 3, 4, and 5. The complexity increases as the quantity and/or density of the information increases.

Assessments are web-based and most take one hour. They are offered in both English and Spanish.

  • Increase your bottom line by hiring the right employees
  • Reduce turnover by up to 84%
  • Take the guesswork out of your selection decisions
  • Decrease overtime hours by 95%
  • Experience a 244% ROI on training dollars


The WorkKeys® assessments present workplace situations, reading materials, problems and messages for the employee to respond to and/or resolve. Each assessment is constructed with a number of levels, with each successive level more complex than the previous. The assessments include:

Foundational Skills:

  1. Applied Math
  2. Graphic Literacy
  3. Workplace Documents
  4. Applied Technology
  5. Business Writing
  6. Workplace Observation

Soft Skills:

  1. Fit
  2. Talent

Review the assessment characteristics and sample questions here.

The NCRC is a portable credential that demonstrates achievement. Individuals can earn the NCRC by taking three WorkKeys assessments: Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information.

Verify the Certificate:

Contact the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board at 715-204-1640 for additional information on WorkKeys or to schedule a WorkKeys testing for your next hire.

Testimony from Wisconsin Businesses

“WorkKeys has worked out very well for our company as we test the “fit” of potential new employees. This has helped us build a very strong team.” – Scott Yellstrom, Merrill Distributing

“As we recruit new members, we’re always focused on finding the best candidates – those who will be a good fit with the company for the long-term. The NCRC process is something we’re now beginning to implement as one part of our recruiting process, as we feel it will help bring in the most qualified and strongest candidates to our company. Additionally, we see this as another tool we can utilize to help maintain standardized hiring practices across our company and reduce turnover.” – John Schwantes, Senior Business Partner, Johnsonville Sausage

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