"It truly has made a big difference in our region of the state in Central Louisiana," Taylor said.

Ascension Public Schools, the Ascension Chamber of Commerce, the Donaldsonville Chamber of Commerce, and the Ascension Economic Development Corporation hosted area businesses and dignitaries last Tuesday, April 2 at Sno's Restuarant in Gonzales, Louisiana to discuss Work Ready Ascension.

The Work Ready Ascension initiative appears to be supported by a large number of community leaders and is a program of career path for parish students to move smoothly into positions of employment after completing their education.

"We need 56 employers in our community to say, 'You know what, we're gonna to jump into this,'" Superintendent David Alexander said. "As Kate [MacArthur] said, it doesn't cost anything. The commitment is that you want to begin to recognize this and learn for us."

Taken from the ACT Work Ready Communities website:

"By participating in ACT’s Work Ready Communities initiative, counties, regions and states are helping:

---Business and industry know exactly what foundational skills they need for a productive workforce - and to easily communicate their needs.

---Individuals understand what skills are required by employers - and how to prepare themselves for success.

---Policy makers consistently measure the skills gap in a timely manner at the national, state and local levels.

---Educators close the skills gap, via tools integrated into career pathways with stackable industry-recognized credentials.

---Economic developers use an on-demand reporting tool to market the quality of their workforce."

Next, Dr. Marjorie Taylor, executive director of the Orchard Foundation spoke to the assembly. Taylor's group serves a nine-parish region of Central Louisiana. She spoke on behalf of ACT Work Ready Communities and the way it works.

"It truly has made a big difference in our region of the state in Central Louisiana," Taylor said.

Currently, Ascension Parish is considered a participating county/parish, but the current push is to become certified.

For more information visit https://www.workreadycommunities.org/LA.