New program offers residents of 11 Missouri counties up to $4,000 to further their education or complete a degree

“Jump Start Your Future” is a partnership of the Northeast Missouri Workforce Development Board, Connections to Success and the North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC).

   The deadline to register is Oct. 31. Applicants must be 18 or older and meet income guidelines. Those who receive food stamps, have gotten unemployment payments in the past or are currently displaced from a job automatically qualify.

   The program covers Lewis, Lincoln, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Pike, Ralls, Randolph, Shelby and Warren. Additional assistance and client monitoring will be available.

   We can put you in touch with Alison Ross of Hannibal, a 32-year-old single mother working toward a bachelor’s degree with a major in business and a minor in education through Moberly Area Community College. She says Jump Start Your Future is a great opportunity because there are always costs not covered by other assistance programs.

   Ross says “To me, it feels like the way you look at things and what is around you – that is going to push you to better yourself and better your life, and get to the point where you want to be versus where you’re at now,” Ross said.

   The program is funded through a $458,000 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant awarded to Workforce Development. Here’s how it will work:

   *NECAC will take applications. Those who qualify will be given a career or training assessment by Workforce Development.

   *Connections to Success will hold professional development and job readiness sessions, starting in September.

   *Workforce, Connections and NECAC will work with clients to enroll them in college, trade school or training programs done in-person or virtually.

   *Maximum annual income to qualify is $19,140 for one person; $25,860 for a two-person household; $32,580 for three people; $39,300 for four; $46,020 for five; and $52,740 for six.

    Workforce offers training in child development, healthcare, professional development, business and computer technology, bookkeeping and accounting, retail management, welding, truck driving and other trades. It also has additional funding to help with child care, transportation and the purchase of work-related clothing or tools. Connections can provide interactive training on finding a job, defining goals and strengths, resume development, mock interviews and developing opportunities. NECAC offers programs to help with rent payments, utility bills and other needs.

   Connections to Success inspires people to realize their dreams and achieve economic stability by providing hope, resources and a plan. A holistic approach includes employability skills training, parenting and relationship training, life transformation coaching and job development and placement, with an emphasis on building social capital to promote success in all aspects of life.  The results are not only self-sufficiency, but healthier, happier people and stronger families. Families have benefitted from this life transformation model with results that home ownership, career employment with living wages, and children finishing school, going to college and breaking the generational poverty cycle.

    NECAC administers more than 60 social service, community health and public housing programs that help thousands of low-income, elderly, young, disabled and disadvantaged people in 12 Missouri counties.