FARMINGTON — Four Corners Economic Development has received a $50,000 grant to expand workforce testing.

4CED is using the WorkKeys program, an assessment developed by ACT Inc., a nonprofit group best known for the college entrance test.

WorkKeys seeks to identify workers' skills and match them with the appropriate job.

"This type of assessment and skills certification allows our existing businesses to hire employees with more appropriately aligned skill sets to the work they will be performing," Sally Burbridge, board chairwoman of 4CED, said in a statement last week.

Burbridge said WorkKeys also gives businesses considering relocating to San Juan County a "solid representation of the skills available should they choose to locate a business here."

The grant funds will assist with outreach to San Juan County employers to educate them on the benefits of using the WorkKeys system to match skills they need with qualified workers. The program aims to reduce turnover rates.

"In today's economy, the traditional hiring system is no longer working for the job-seeker or the employer," said Jamai Blivin, chief executive of Innovate+Educate, a nonprofit group that promotes industry-driven workforce improvements. "Our model identifies a new way to match job-seekers to jobs, and creates tremendous (return on investment) for the employer. These grants are for communities to seed their own innovations and create models for Innovate+Educate to scale nationally."

Also awarded grants were Christus St.


Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, the Regional Development Corporation of Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Taos counties and the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce.

The grants were funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich.