September 23, 2023

In today’s ever-changing job market, it’s more important than ever to have the skills and qualifications necessary to succeed in a high-paying career.

Unfortunately, many hardworking adults in suburban Eastern Jackson County are struggling to make ends meet while also trying to gain the education they need to qualify for better jobs. That’s where Job Skills for New Careers comes in.

This collaborative community initiative, launched in early 2020, is focused on helping adults gain the skills they need to succeed in in-demand careers like Certified Nursing Assistants, Computer Support Specialists, EKG technicians, CDL drivers, Phlebotomy technicians, and many, many more. By utilizing adult education funding available through numerous local programs, individuals can gain critical career skills that can make a remarkable impact on their lives in the long term without going into debt.

What sets Job Skills for New Careers apart from other education programs is the comprehensive wrap-around services provided by Community Services League. These critical services provide individuals with support for everything from utilities and rent assistance, purchasing scrubs and stethoscopes for the first day of work, to offering personal finance coaching and resume writing. These critical programs and services allow people to navigate beyond life’s barriers to achieve their career goals.

The success rate of Job Skills for New Careers is truly impressive. In 2020, 53 individuals completed training programs. This year, more than 200 individuals are expected to complete their certificate programs and will be well on their way to a better career and life for themselves and their families. They will go far in new careers that pay living wages and are proven to be in high demand in the region.

One of the key factors contributing to the success of Job Skills for New Careers is its collaborative approach. With organizations like Community Services League, Mid-Continent Public Library, KC Scholars, the University of Central Missouri, the Independence Council for Economic Development, and the Mid-America Regional Council, Job Skills for New Careers offers a pathway to success at every level, from high school GED to landing that dream job. By working together, our partners can offer a wide variety of readily available solutions to some of the most common barriers to adult learning.

KC Scholars received a $50 million grant from The Kauffman Foundation to provide adult-learning tuition assistance, and they have lofty goals for participation and completion rates. KC Scholars provides tuition assistance for approved training programs that lead to careers with salaries between $45,000 and $85,000. More than 60% of our participants will have their tuition paid by KC Scholars through the Great Jobs KC program.

The Truman Heartland Community Foundation fundholders also play a critical role in the success of Job Skills for New Careers. They provide financial support for the wrap-around services that make this initiative so effective, donating nearly $600,000 since 2020. Unlike other partner funds that are restricted to tuition reimbursement, the flexibility of our fundholder dollars is unique. Their gifts immediately go out to help our hard-working neighbors stay on the road to financial stability with a better career.

If you’re interested in taking part in this program as an adult learner, start your journey with our friends at Community Services League ( or KC Scholars ( They will walk you through the process and help you find the right career path for you. And if you would like to learn how you can use your donor advised fund or some other charitable vehicle to support Job Skills for New Careers or other Foundation initiatives, contact THCF ( or 816.836.8189). With the support of our community, we can help hardworking adults gain the skills and qualifications they need to succeed in today’s job market.

Phil Hanson is the President and CEO of Truman Heartland Community Foundation. Truman Heartland Community Foundation is a public charity committed to improving area communities by promoting and serving private giving for the public good. Founded in 1982, THCF serves individuals who, through their private giving, wish to support the public good in the most tax-wise and effective manner. Through THCF, donors can set up their own family foundations, scholarship funds, field of interest funds, endowment funds, charitable gift annuities, and many other charitable vehicles that utilize the foundation’s shared resources to maximize the impact of their philanthropic dollars. In addition to donor services, THCF provides asset development for nonprofit organizations, offers competitive grant opportunities to nonprofits, assists organizations in planned giving, and serves as a change leader in addressing community issues. For more information, visit or call 816-836-8189.