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Accelerating Dreams

Accelerating Dreams

  • This story originally appeared in the March 2024 innovation and technology issue of COMO Magazine.
Driver Simulator at Job Point

Job Point offers students an innovative approach to career development.

There is much more to Job Point than meets the eye. In a nutshell, it offers training and education to those seeking a meaningful career. 

Founded in 1965 by the Columbia Cosmopolitan Club, Job Point is a nonprofit organization that has professionals coming together to make a difference in the community. As its website says, Job Point’s main focus is “linking people and jobs by providing education, training, and employment assistance.” 

Student in the driver simulator at Job Point

Working Together, Moving Forward  

Comprised of different departments that work together to help match students with careers and community development, Job Point is led by Steve Smith, the longtime president and chief executive officer who recently announced his retirement effective September 30, 2024.  Job Point offers courses and hands-on training in a variety of skills and careers, including office technology, construction trades — from carpentry to heavy highway construction and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) — health care, and retail sales. 

Job Point is a fully accredited health and human services nonprofit organization, serving people with disabilities, people with defined economic disadvantages, youths ages 16 and over, people on probation or parole, and unemployed Columbia residents. Headquartered in Columbia, Job Point also has offices in Boonville and Moberly. 

John Scalise, Job Point’s director of rehabilitation services, praised the “longevity of the team at Job Point and how rewarding it is to be able to use my social services background to help the community the way we can.” 

Student in the driver simulator at Job Point

‘Potential For Greatness’ 

Many times, Job Point has given individuals insight and inspiration to pursue their career dreams. Students who didn’t graduate high school can get help in preparing for the high school equivalency diploma test (HiSET) to combine with community service projects to show employers a well-rounded individual ready for the world. 

“Regardless of their circumstances, age, education, or background we see that potential for greatness in every person,” Job Point’s website states. 

Another unique aspect of Job Point’s programs is YouthBuild, headed by Director Jerrell Morton. YouthBuild falls under the skills training aspect of Job Point and allows youth to learn and grow on actual job sites while continuing to work on their education. Students build a house or two per year through this program. The houses are then sold at affordable prices, helping boost the community’s stock of affordable housing.  

One innovative tool that Job Point has at its fingertips to help people learn and grow into a lifelong career is the commercial truck driver (CDL)/car simulator. Funded by the city of Columbia, the simulator is set up with a “windshield” of computer screens and the functionality of moving vehicles for simulation of real-life situations. A student demonstrated that the simulator will not begin without the driver’s seat belt buckled. 

The student showed how he was able to “drive” a truck that requires the driver to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). He “drove” through the rolling hills of the country on a two-lane road. The simulator includes a steering wheel and transmission gear shift.  

There are several settings allowing students to learn on buses or semi-trucks requiring a CDL; students can also begin with a basic small car. It can be automatic or multi-speed with a variety of settings — country or city driving — and different weather as well. Many of Morton’s students use the simulator. 

“We get young people that don’t have the opportunity to practice driving so they can get their driver’s license,” Morton explains. “Maybe they have some fear, so they can start with the simulator.” 

While some students use the simulator for driver’s license training, some will use it to rehabilitate after an accident or to acquire a CDL that may open up other career opportunities or even lead to a raise for their current position. 

Smith is eager to see how the program can grow. 

“In the future there may be opportunity with MACC [Moberly Area Community College] to add the use of a real truck to practice with,” Smith adds. “It is exciting; the possibilities.”  

Job Point


Mission Statement
We promote the abilities of individuals seeking employment through innovative training, education, and business partnership, enriching the communities where we work and live.

Board Officers
Rockne Corbin, chair  
Lauren Karr, vice chair  
Nick Allen, past chair  
Bruce Sones, treasurer  
Tom Dugan, secretary  
Liz Lea, member at large  
Gary Lee, past chair  

Board Members
Viviane Melo
Brian Burks
Ben Falby
Tim Howald
Lakeela Mings
Jonathon McQuilkin
Keesha Johns
Christopher Nichols
David Nichols
Jeanne McGuire 

Job Point
400 Wilkes Boulevard 

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