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Family earns certification
Work Ready pic
Larry and Susan McBerry, along with their 20-year-old son, Larry, are the county’s first Certified Work Ready family after taking the Georgia Work Ready Assessment at Lanier Tech earlier this month. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

A local couple and their adult son recently took four hours out of their busy schedules to take part in a statewide initiative to become Certified Work Ready.


Susan and Larry McBerry, along with their 20-year-old son, Larry, are the county’s first Certified Work Ready family after taking the Georgia Work Ready assessment at Lanier Tech earlier this month.


Work Ready is a statewide initiative designed to show potential new businesses considering locating to Georgia that the state can support new business with a capable workforce.


Susan McBerry, a local banker, said she had wanted to take the assessment for about a year, but couldn’t make it fit her schedule.


“This was the first time they offered it at night, so I asked them both to take it with me,” she said.


For taking the test, each received a $50 gift card from Kroger as an incentive.


They also have bragging rights. Susan McBerry is one of only four Dawson County residents to score the a platinum certification, the highest possible score. Father and son each scored gold certifications, though both anticipated low scores in mathematics.


“Math was never my strong point,” said the elder McBerry, who always has his wife calculate tips when the couple goes out to dinner.


Susan McBerry said she won’t be doing math for him anymore.


While the McBerry family took the assessment in order to build the number of currently employed participants in the local program, Work Ready also focuses on helping the unemployed.


Possession of a Georgia Work Ready Certificate shows potential employers that a job applicant has demonstrated skills in the areas of applied mathematics, locating information and reading for information, skills that are considered crucial by most employers, according to local coordinator Linda Williams.


“The Work Ready Certificate is good evidence that a job candidate has those skills,” Williams said.


Free, online skills gap training is also available to help individuals improve their Work Ready Certificate level.


Individuals can take home as much as $300 for taking the three part examination, which is administered free through Lanier Tech.


The program offers a $100 prepaid card to assist with job search expenses and a $200 pre-paid card for improving a work ready level.


Applicants who successfully complete the assessments will also receive a Georgia Work Ready Certificate from the office of the governor, identifying the skill levels they have demonstrated.