goes live Sept. 15.

Crookston will soon have its own way for employers and job seekers to "show off" their talents.

The Crookston Talent Community was developed after a grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation helped localize a free website for businesses and qualified members to use the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) to market job readiness.

"The NCRC is a skill assessment tool developed by ACT (American College Testing) that uses real-life work scenarios to measure competencies in math, reading for information and problem-solving," explained Jaclyn Brekken of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) office in Crookston.

A "talent community" is a method of social recruiting of people as part of the job seeking process. The primary tool for communication in a talent community is through the use of social media, i.e. LinkedIn and Facebook. LinkedIn has over 150 million members while 1 in every 9 people on Earth is on Facebook, says Wikipedia.

Brekken has worked with a couple local businesses, such as New Flyer of America and the Villa St. Vincent, in testing and showcasing employees who had high scores. She is hoping to utilize the website as a two-way communication tool that anyone can use. Businesses, big and small, can join even if they don't have any current openings as a way to entice future job seekers.

Brekken said the NCRC "test" is more like a knowledge assessment that shows what kind of levels each individual is at in the categories provided. She adds, "There might be someone in the quiet corner of the office who scores at a platinum level and needs to be brought out of their shell."

As a state, Minnesota started the NCRC two years ago but the southwest part of the U.S. is where it has been utilized the most. Some employers in that region consider it to be a requirement to get a job. A couple nearby cities that will also be implementing this program are Brainerd and Fergus Falls. Their programs start the end of August through the beginning of September and are warehoused with the local Economic Development Authority, while Crookston is joined with the local Chamber of Commerce. Community partners will include the Rural Minnesota CEP (Concentrated Employment Program), the Initiatives Foundations, Northwest Private Industry Council as well as local school districts and community colleges.

Keep your eye out for a promotional campaign in mid-August and a kick off event in September. Crookston's Talent Community website goes live Sept. 15 at If you have any questions or are interested in the NCRC or Talent Community, contact Brekken at the Crookston DEED office 281-0472 for further information.