Phil Hanson: Community offers solution to underemployment


Phil hanson

The generosity of our community continues to impress me. Even when times are tough, like dealing with the aftermath of a global pandemic, our community stands up to meet challenges with kindness and generosity.

A perfect illustration of this is the 45 Truman Heartland Community Foundation fund holders who have pooled more than $ 125,000 in grants from their funds to address the unemployment and underemployment problem in East County. Jackson. It is a testament to the power of a community foundation to bring like-minded people to the table and provide solutions to real community problems.

The Professional Skills for New Careers initiative was born out of a community need. This is a collaborative effort between the Truman Heartland Community Foundation, the Community Services League (CSL), the Mid-Continent Public Library, KC Scholars and the University of Central Missouri.

Job Skills for New Careers aims to improve the economic stability of our hard-working neighbors by providing them with a clear path to higher-paying and in-demand careers.

The program offers industry-recognized, tuition-paid degrees in five different career paths, Certified Practical Nurse (CNA), Material Construction / Handling, Medical Coding and Billing, Phlebotomy, and Welding. But unlike typical programs which can only provide training courses, Job Skills for New Careers offers many comprehensive supports for interns.

Even the most motivated trainee may encounter obstacles to their learning. Cars break down, kids get sick, and monthly rent and utility bills keep piling up, even when you’re training hard for your dream career. This is where global support services come in. With offers such as financial coaching, assistance to public services, assistance with transport, placement, etc., interns learn to overcome obstacles to their success.

For example, Julie could not afford to buy a computer for her online training during the Covid. Fortunately, flexible funding from our Truman Heartland donors has provided CSL with the resources to help her with a laptop so she can complete her training and get out of her dead end job. Sharon should have abandoned her training at CNA because she was not up to date with all of her vaccines and would not be allowed to complete her clinics without them.

Without health insurance, the expense of updating was beyond his capacity. Thus, the support of Truman Heartland donors allowed CSL to foot the bill so that she could continue her clinics at the hospital and fulfill her dream of becoming a healthcare professional.

These are just two examples of how community investments are paying off. Job Skills for New Careers gives people a real chance at success, a chance to make positive and lasting change.

While we are waiting for the final numbers, it is expected that at least 150 people will graduate from the Work Skills program for a new career in 2021. This is a 95% increase from 2020. This is an achievement of which we can all be proud. . Professional skills for new careers really make a positive difference in people’s lives.

We look forward to continuing to share the successes of this community workforce development program in the new year. By 2022, demand for this program remains high. We know we can count on the continued support of our donors, partners and employers for this life-changing program. If you want more information on how to get involved as an intern, donor or employment partner, contact us and we’ll put you in touch with the right person.

Phil Hanson is the President and CEO of the Truman Heartland Community Foundation. Truman Heartland Community Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) public charity committed to improving communities in and around Eastern Jackson County through partnerships with donors and community members. For more information on charitable giving, visit or call Truman Heartland at 816-836-8189.

Comments are closed.