There was a rare break in the rain and the heat on Thursday, July 1 as Job Point prepared for its Annual Awards banquet. Distant clouds floated harmlessly by as the sun glimmered brightly in the sky. For the first time in over a year, Job Point staff welcomed community partners, family, friends, clients, employers and other well-wishers to celebrate the great things that can happen when everyone works together to support one another.
Presented by KOMU 8, Job Point’s 2021 Annual Awards Banquet honored the great accomplishments of four individuals who had worked hard to overcome great barriers in their lives in 2020. The Award of Excellence winners shared their stories in a special presentation sponsored by Joe Machens Toyota. Watch the video below. Job Point also recognized the 2020 Employer, Partner, Volunteer and Employee of the Year.
The evening ended with a live auction to help raise funds for Job Point’s affordable housing initiatives. Each year, Job Point students and staff build one to two homes that feature universal design and impressive energy efficiency to help address the city’s affordable housing crisis. These homes are then made available for purchase by income-eligible homebuyers who might not otherwise be able to afford the purchase of a home in Columbia’s competitive real estate market.
Guests responded with great generosity and enthusiasm for the project, giving or pledging over $16,000. All funds will go toward the costs of building the next home, which is slated to begin later in 2021. Learn more about construction training in YouthBuild by watching the video below.
Job Point would like to express their gratitude to the following community partners for helping making the banquet possible through their sponsorship: Air &Water Solutions, Ameren Missouri, Central Bank of Boone County, Columbia Cosmolitan Lucheon Club, COMO Magazine, First Mid Bank & Trust, Gary Lee, Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital, Hawthorn Bank, Joe Machens Toyota, KOMU 8, Manor Roofing & Restoration, Margie Krug, Mary Carnahan, Peters Heating & Air Conditioning, Shelter Insurance Companies, Simmons Bank, University of Missouri Health Care, Veterans United Home Foundation.
Hy-Vee on Grindstone, Employer of the Year
While the Coronavirus slowed employment activity, it didn’t slow down HyVee. They still hired several of our candidates, and they continued their long-standing practice of opening their doors to Job Point and the people they serve for job tryouts. Most businesses did not allow job trials during the pandemic, but HyVee did. Job Trials are a critical step for candidates to determine a job goal.
There are many tasks HyVee allows Job Point’s clients to try, which showcase their transferable skills. Sometimes the path from a job today, to the dream job in the future, looks different than someone might expect, and HyVee is a tremendous partner, helping these candidates find their path. HyVee is an asset to Columbia and a true blessing to Job Point, assisting in changing lives.
Kate Berry, Partner of the Year
Kate Berry has been instrumental in the placement of many candidates for nearly a decade. She is always willing to interview individuals referred by Job Point’s staff. She has invited Job Point to provide training to her employees regarding working with people with disabilities. If employee issues arise, Kate seeks solutions, rather than dismissing the individual.
In her role at various businesses, Kate has remained a steadfast member of Job Point’s Business Advisory Council for seven years and is currently serving her second term as Chair. She is active in ensuring the committee is beneficial for both Job Point and for the members, and last year, she facilitated the donation of 2,000 disposable masks to Job Point.
Christina Pilkington, Volunteer of the Year
When the world shut down 15 months ago, Job Point’s classes were actively in-session and thanks to Christina’s help, the transition to remote instruction went smoothly for our Certified Nursing Assistant Program. She quickly created a PowerPoint with graphics and videos and converted testing to an online platform. She supported the instructor every step of the way and helped all of their students navigate the new platform. She is actually a graduate of Job Point’s training program and used her in-class and on-the-job knowledge to help create better learning experiences for our students. Then, when in-person classes resumed, she continued to serve as a mentor to students.
Lucky Ogbomo, Employee of the Year
During the height of the pandemic, many of our staff were not comfortable working at job sites in the community, so Lucky stepped up and took on the bulk of the coaching hours to make sure Job Point’s clients had the support they needed. He jumped back and forth to help coach three different workers, all at different sites, on multiple days, evenings and weekends. He worked many hours, whenever and wherever he was needed. In addition, he also exclusively conducted all job trials for candidates in career exploration services.
His friendly demeanor and caring attitude have endeared him not only to Job Point’s clients, but also to their employment partners. His positive and energetic spirit is truly appreciated. He has shown tremendous commitment to Job Point, its candidates and the community all with a smile on his face and a cheerful greeting everywhere he went.
Award of Excellence Winners
Each year, Job Point recognizes individuals who exemplify courage, resolve and personal triumph. These individuals must often overcome difficult circumstances, barriers and setbacks to continue working toward their goals.
Award of Excellence Semi-Finalist, Matt Henson
When Matt first came to Job Point, he was struggling to find a job that he enjoyed. Without a high school diploma and facing challenges with communication, he wasn’t confident that he had many options. But, with support and encouragement from Job Point, he has found and kept a job he enjoys at Motel 6. With his newfound confidence, he is working on getting his diploma equivalent. We are so proud of his willingness to do the work necessary to get where he wants to be in life.
Award of Excellence Semi-Finalist, Cletus Mahan
Cletus Mahan has had a long-standing relationship with Job Point and over the years has found great successes. He has been on quite a journey, with many setbacks that left him feeling like he had to start over. But through it all, his resilience has kept him moving forward. He continues to overcome the obstacles that stand in his way with a positive attitude and a desire to do more with his life. We are so proud of all that Cletus has been able to accomplish for himself and the goals he has met throughout our time working together.
Award of Excellence Winner, Nancy DeClue
Nancy has incredible education and experience in the healthcare field, but after a health incident changed her life forever, she could no longer work as an RN. She tried to find work on her own, but no one would hire her. She was really struggling. When Nancy walked in to Job Point for the first time, she was relying on the Food Bank to fill her cupboards and desperately hoping that someone would just give her a chance. “I just needed a job,” she said. She connected with Ranjana Hans, one of our advisors, and within a short amount of time, Nancy found “the perfect job.” If it weren’t for Job Point, I wouldn’t have my dog, be able to buy my own food, or have the security that I have now.”
Award of Excellence Winner, Vernell Chapman
When Vernell entered Job Point’s mental toughness orientation for YouthBuild, his initial test scores were far below the program standards. But his spirit and dedication endeared him to the staff and he was admitted. With a lot of support, extra time with tutors and instructors, Vernell has proven that he can learn and that he has the fortitude to keep moving forward even through continuous roadblocks and self-doubt. It has not been an easy journey, but Vernell earned his certifications and landed a job he loves. And he isn’t done yet. He still has a few tests to pass to get his high school diploma equivalency, but he knows that he can do it.