State officials are offering a new incentive to help unemployed Iowans get a new resume booster. Iowa Workforce Development director Teresa Wahlert says the state will pay for unemployed Iowans who want to take the “National Career Readiness Certification” test.

“The NCRC has four different levels of certification: gold, silver, bronze and platinum,” Wahlert says.

The test is administered by the Iowa City-based company that conducts the ACT for college-bound high school students. According to the company’s, questions on the National Career Readiness Certification test “are based on situations in the everyday work world.” The test covers three basic skill areas, the first of which is applied mathematics.

“That is not: Can you add, subtract, multiply and divide,” Wahlert says. “That is: This table has these dimensions. What size of a table cloth would you need to purchase in order to cover the table?”

The second area is reading comprehension.

“We think that our labor must be able to read a manual, read a direction, be able to read for content during their job,” Wahlert says, “if not passed that.” The final area tests a person’s ability to search for information.

More than a million Americans have earned “National Career Readiness Certification” since the test was created in 2006. Iowa is among 40 states that sanction the test for anyone, regardless of age. People can train for the test, online.

“That’s particularly important because since there’s three areas, I’m the kind of person who would pass two of the three…and this provides a remediation training opportunity as well as a front-end training opportunity,” Wahlert says, “so people can do better and better as they go through the training.”

The ranking system of gold, silver, bronze and platinum “predicts an individuals’ success at work or in training,” according to ACT’s website. The ranking covers the categories of “work discipline, teamwork tolerance, customer service orientation and managerial potential.”