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Career Prep Certificate

New Certificate Program for Missouri High School Seniors

The Missouri General Assembly passed legislation (L. 2006 S.B. 894) which charged the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop a program that enables high schools to endorse a certificate for students who meet certain standards that demonstrate that the students are "ready to work." The program is designed to be voluntary in nature and for high school seniors that choose to participate.

In developing the program, the Department established a statewide advisory committee comprised of representatives from employers, chambers of commerce, local workforce service providers, school administrators, postsecondary education, counselors, and students. The group was charged with developing the following program components:

  • Academic
  • Work readiness
  • Assessment tools and techniques for a third-party, independent, and objectives assessment and endorsement of individual student achievement through an existing workforce investment service delivery system
  • An easily identifiable guarantee to potential employers that the entry-level employee is ready to work

The group met monthly to develop the program components, utilizing Web conferencing technology for five of the meetings. A number of additional guests participated in meetings by presenting and lending their expertise to planning efforts. Representatives from ACT and the National Work Readiness Council also participated and provided insight to the promotion and development of their national certificates.

The planning guide serves as a framework for communities, large or small, to design a program that meets the needs of their employers.

For more information, contact Janice Rehak at (573) 526-4900 or e-mail at Janice.Rehak@dese.mo.gov.


Program Benefits

The following are benefits that a successful Career Prep Certificate Program could offer to individuals and communities:


  • Match individual knowledge and skills to occupational expectations, regardless of educational requirements
  • Match individual interests and preparation with job opportunities
  • Focus exploration and preparation by career paths
  • Document an individual’s mastery of knowledge and skills
  • Promote postsecondary education and training based on personal plan of study
  • Further postsecondary education and training supported by work-based experiences
  • Emphasize the importance of academic and work readiness components
  • Provide credentials that are valued and requested by employers and colleges


  • Connect knowledge, skills, and testing for education and employers
  • Predict readiness of individuals for work and college
  • Require fewer resources for remediation and basic skills training
  • Apprise the business community of the assessments currently used to assess knowledge and skills
  • Improve job satisfaction, driving increased productivity and decreased turnover
  • Verify entry-level workers’ knowledge and skills
  • Identify real-world knowledge and skills needed by local and regional business
  • Match individual knowledge and skills to occupational expectations, regardless of educational requirements
  • Build stronger interdependency between education and employers
  • Increase in partnership activity, communication, and support
  • Foster a better educated and trained workforce
  • Support economic and workforce development