Jessie’s Success

This success story was highlighted in the June Missouri Community Action Network newsletter and we wanted to share it with you!

On January 28, 2019 Jessie Morrison came into Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation’s Christian County Neighborhood Center to get information about the SkillUP program after hearing about the program from his wife, an employee at the local OACAC Head Start Center.

Jessie had recently lost his job and was very interested in finding a good paying job that would allow him to continue to provide for his family. His previous work history included a variety of jobs related to driving, which he enjoys. Jessie knew he needed to get his CDL to increase his hiring potential for better pay in this line of work.

When looking into the regulations and cost of getting a CDL, Jessie knew the cost to obtain this new credential was prohibitive for him and his family without any assistance, and he felt he would not qualify for financial assistance since he didn’t have a high school diploma or GED.

With the help of Family Resource Specialist Yvonne Yettaw, Jessie discovered Truck Dynasty Driving Academy, and he liked the curriculum offered.

Jessie started classes at Truck Dynasty Driving Academy on March 4, 2019. While the class generally lasts four weeks to get the 160 driving hours, Jessie was so enthused about finishing the classes and going to work that he put in extra days and hours each week. He received his certificate on March 22, 2019 for completing his 160 driving hours and received his CDL. Jessie even stayed for the fourth week of classes to receive extra training and drive time.

As busy as Jessie was at school, he had to overcome some obstacles along the way. OACAC was able to assist Jessie with supportive services through SkillUP to overcome those obstacles. SkillUP was able to help him get his vehicle tagged and titled in his name for transportation to and from class. Child care was secured at a before-and-after school program, and SkillUP was able to help cover part of the cost.

During his time in school, Jessie discovered that his lease was not renewed and had to move. SkillUP was able to help him with one month of rent to avoid an eviction. And while Jessie was focusing on getting training to improve his situation and get a better job, his family was left short on funds. SkillUP was able to assist with gas money for Jessie to get to and from training.

The training site was very impressed with Jessie, and they were able to help place him with a company. Jessie is now participating in “over the road driving” and enjoying being back to work, where he works four days on and three days off. After team driving for 6 months, Jessie will be able to drive by himself and his pay will increase. His starting weekly gross pay is $1,200 with a $413 nontaxable per diem, and his take home is about $1,050. Jessie also receives full benefits and a 401K.

Congratulations, Jessie! To learn more about how you may benefit from OACAC’s SkillUP program, give us a call at (417) 447-0554.