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WHRO Develops Learning Modules to Help Employees Become "Workplace Ready"
– The first five modules will launch on April 4 at www.WorkplaceReady.org

Bert Schmidt
President and Chief Executive Officer, WHRO

(Norfolk, Va., March 29, 2016) – According to the U.S. Department of Education, 1 in 6 U.S. adults – nearly 36 million – has low "basic" skills in areas such as literacy, numeracy and problem solving. And yet, these skills are necessary for long-term employment or advancement to higher wage levels. WHRO, a leader in educational technology, has developed a new product to assist employers with this problem – Workplace Ready, a program comprised of learning modules that teaches soft skills or "how to work."

"The American workforce scores lower than the international average when it comes to basic skills. Employers are able and willing to train workers in job-specific duties, but cannot teach people the fundamentals of how to work," said Bert Schmidt, President and CEO of WHRO. "Workplace Ready is a program of learning modules designed to meet those needs by offering compelling, contemporary and dynamic resources to teach the skill sets needed to enter the workforce ready to work. They have been designed to be engaging, real-world and contemporary to appeal to today's workers."
Workplace Ready will consist of modules focused on 24 skill sets, as identified by the University of Virginia, the U.S. Department of Labor, The Conference Board, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills and The Society for Human Resource Management. These skill sets are divided into three categories: Foundational, Technological and Professional.

WHRO will officially release the first five modules on Monday, April 4, available at www.workplaceready.org

These modules are Applied Mathematics; Reading for Information; Location Information; Understanding Health, Wellness and Safety; and Internet Use and Safety.

The self-paced modules will be available to every agency, Workforce Investment Board (WIB), employer and school for use with potential employees who are seeking to enter the workforce. They also will be available through WHRO's www.SkillsOnline.org, at every library, career and community center and every community college and post-secondary institution in Virginia – all at no charge.

The modules and learning materials are customizable for full integration and blended learning into existing methods used by different organizations and schools. They are based on established, proven curricula and correlated with the Standards of Learning (SOLs). Additionally, they were created to align with the assessment criteria used for workplace certifications employed across the state and country.

"In the 21st century business world, possessing a range of core skills directly related to the workplace is critical to success. A lack of basic skills sets workers up for failure – job loss, short-term employment and lack of advancement. This situation also costs employers with higher turnover rates and lower customer satisfaction," added Schmidt.

More than a TV and radio station, WHRO has been a leader in educational technology for more than fifty years with proven experience developing purpose-built digital content for professional development, classroom instruction and blended learning. During development of the program, WRHO formed a panel of subject matter and industry experts to review the modules, gather input and assure they would be employer relevant. This 17-member panel includes leaders from well-known companies and organizations, such as Norfolk Southern, Newport News Shipbuilding, Goodwill and Huntington Ingall Industries. The cost to develop the first five modules was $300,000.

"Business leaders, educators, community leaders and policymakers must work together to ensure that young people have the opportunities they need to develop important workplace skills," stated Schmidt. "We are thrilled to release the first phase of Workplace Ready but we have a way to go to develop the rest. Our goal is to raise another $1.2 million in order to build and launch the remaining 19 modules.


WHRO Public Media
About WHRO: Since its founding in 1961 to support education, WHRO has utilized creativity and technology to serve the residents of southeast Virginia in its mission to educate, inform and entertain viewers and listeners of WHRO's four public television and eight public radio stations. Owned by 19 southeastern Virginia school divisions, WHRO also delivers online educational and new media services to 25,000 Educators & 280,000 Students Locally; 155,000 Educators & over 1.2 million Students Statewide.

American Graduate
About American Graduate: American Graduate is public media's long-term commitment to supporting community-based solutions to the dropout crisis. Supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), more than 100 public radio and television stations have joined forces with more than 980 partners and at-risk schools across 40 states.