by Phil Hanson, President & CEO, Truman Heartland Community Foundation
Sharon was working on her Certified Nursing Assistant certification (CNA) through Job Skills for New Careers; a collaborative community initiative focused on helping hard-working adults gain the skills they need to qualify for better paying, in-demand careers. As she prepared to begin the clinical portion of her training, she learned she was very much behind on her vaccinations. Hospitals require trainees to be current on all vaccinations. Without health insurance, the cost for Sharon to catch up on her shots would have been a substantial burden on her family. But she didn’t quit. She didn’t give up on her dream career. She knew there was support available to help her succeed.
The Job Skills for New Careers initiative is made up of five key organizations: Truman Heartland Community Foundation, Community Services League (CSL), Mid-Continent Public Library, KC Scholars, and the University of Central Missouri, utilizing each organization’s unique assets to offer trainings in fields that pay living wages and continue to be in high demand in the region. As a Job Skills trainee, Sharon was able to get all her vaccinations up to date and fully participate in her clinicals at the hospital because of the wrap-around services provided by CSL. She didn’t have to choose between paying a vaccination bill and other monthly bills, like rent, utilities, or food. Sharon got her CNA certification and is well on her way to providing a better life for her family.
Job Skills for New Careers is now in its third year. Last year, 45 Truman Heartland fundholders supported this initiative with grants from their Donor Advised Funds (DAF), which added $125,000 to the pool. While the support from our fundholders provides only a fraction of the total cost, our support is vital because it allows CSL to utilize our flexible dollars to provide the critical wrap-around services that enable these hard-working adults to successfully complete the training.
In 2021 the program had 94 graduates who earned certificates in Medical Coding and Billing, Phlebotomy, Certified Nursing Assistant, Welding, or Construction/Materials Handling. The Job Skills partners continue to explore additional training programs such as CDL Truck Driving, IT Support, and Automotive Repair. We hope to have new collaborations and training partners to announce later this year and our goal is to have 200 trainees and an 80% graduation rate.
The average cost per participant is $6,500, including the critical wrap-around services, which is a great investment in these families. This investment is truly life-changing as they move into a career that enables them to achieve financial stability for their families. Stable families build strong communities.
Please get in touch with any of the Job Skills partners to talk about how you can invest in your community through the Job Skills for New Career initiative. As a community-driven program, we want to hear from you.