Keys to success

Retired teachers volunteer to help unemployed prepare for jobs

Callaway Keys volunteer Jean Collins meets with a client at the Central Missouri Community Action offices in Fulton Thursday. Collins and six other retired teachers and administrators work with unemployed residents of Callaway County on various skills to help them find a job.

Callaway Keys volunteer Jean Collins meets with a client at the Central Missouri Community Action offices in Fulton Thursday. Collins and six other retired teachers and administrators work with unemployed residents of Callaway County on various skills to help them find a job.

Since 2012, seven Callaway County women have been working to give local job hunters the keys to employment.

Callaway Keys, a volunteer group made up of retired school teachers and administrators, has spent the last two years combating Callaway County's chronic 6.9-percent unemployment rate by helping individuals identify job skills, develop resumes and boost their confidence before big interviews.

The group works out of Fulton as a subset of Central Missouri Community Action. Formed in February 2012, founding member Margaret Muse said then-CMCA Director Brenda Rose saw a need for these services in Callaway County and approached her after Muse retired as an instructor and administrator from Lincoln University.

Since then, she and six others have helped 97 people referred to them by CMCA, Our House: Caring for Callaway's Homeless, Faith Maternity, Headstart and the Devision of Youth Services.

Muse said that once they get an electronic referral from a partner agency, Callaway Keys will contact the person and set up a time with an available volunteer. They will then spend two our three hour-long sessions with each client, depending on what they need.

"We help them fill out job applications, and with many of the people (we work with) developing a familiarity with how it is you access online sites and find applications and fill them out," Muse said. "We also do interview skills, we, if they're interested we offer them sort of interview practice and they often want to do that. And if they're interested in cover letters for their resumes we help them with that."

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