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story.lead_photo.caption Paula Tredway/FULTON SUNJob Point recruiter Felecia Jackson-Qualls gives a presentation during the Callaway Resource Network meeting Thursday morning at Callaway Electric Cooperative in Fulton. Jackson-Qualls explained the different programs that Job Point has to offer, and how the company has been helping individuals land a job in the work force since 1965.

At Callaway Resource Network meeting Thursday morning at Callaway Electric Cooperative in Fulton, Felecia Jackson-Qualls gave a presentation on Job Point.

Jackson-Qualls does recruiting for the company throughout Mid-Missouri.

Job Point is Missouri's premier employment center and Community Development Corporation. The company was founded in 1965 by a group of 12 who had family members with disabilities and wanted to find a way for them to get out in the world and find something they love doing.

The company helps a multitude of people: individuals who are unemployed or underemployed, offenders, people with economic or educational obstacles, youth ages 16 and older, people with physical or mental health conditions, and adults and students with developmental disabilities.

"I'm the first person that they come in contact with," she said. "We sit down and talk — I kind of pick their brain, listen to their stories and listen to what their goals are."

Job Point offers several different resources to help those entering the work force: YouthBuild, Find a Job, Job Works, Ticket to Job, disability services, skills training and certificate programs, and affordable housing.

YouthBuild helps those ages 16-24 change the trajectory of their lives by helping them study and pass the HiSET, which is equivalent to a high school diploma, and with job training and leadership development.

Ticket to Work is for individuals with disabilities that offers them the opportunity to work or to increase the number of hours they can work without jeopardizing their cash benefits. The skills training and certificate programs include HVAC, highway/heavy construction, carpentry, office technology and certified nursing assistant.

Each course comes with its own specific training, workshops, class length and criteria, but they all offer individuals the chance at hands-on learning with great potential in earnings and growth.

"We cover everything," Jackson-Qualls said. "I think that's a blessing when it comes to our classes because most of these individuals come to us and they are not able to pay tuition, so we find resources for these tuitions to be paid for."

United Way, Boone County Children's Services Fund, the city of Columbia, AmeriCorps and YouthBuild help with tuition needs. Individuals also have the opportunity to receive scholarships to help with educational purposes.

Since they have seen people drop out and come back, Job Point holds on to scholarships for seven years just in case the individual returns.

"We don't put you out," Jackson-Qualls said. "You put yourself out. It's up to them — the ball is in their court."

Since September 2020, Job Point has served 336 people, and 75 percent of adults have maintained employment for at least 90 days after being hired.

For more information on the company, visit jobpoint.org.

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