DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa has a labor workforce problem in the state with more jobs available than people who are unemployed.
One metro couple plans to spend their retirement addressing that issue and another – men and women who are released from prison only to go right back in.
“Guys were coming back in because they didn’t have a job,” said Joseph Johnson, CEO of Change Course.
Joseph and his wife Karin are developing a new workforce development program inspired by Joseph’s incarceration decades ago. The couple wants to help ex-inmates find a meaningful career path. The program, Change Course, is six months long. Their first session is starting in just a couple of months, with 25 spots open for the first session.
“Change Course is a career development program that is really to help people who need second chances,” said Joseph.
Over the six months those who enroll, who are called “leaders”, will be trained on a variety of things. Anywhere from what their interests are to what to wear to a job interview.
“I just think how many people haven’t gotten a shot in life who could be amazing,” said Karin Johnson, the Program Director of Change Course. “We teach them how to do an interview, how to dress for a job, how to write a resume. People will come in to teach them about job professions so we can lead them into a track.”
Rather then spend their retirement years on a beach, the Johnsons feel that it is their time to give back to the Des Moines community.
Change Course is partnered with IowaWORKS and DMACC to provide resources and hopefully connect people with a job once the program is through.
“When people graduate from our program, employers are going to say, ‘wow they went through those six months, they are ready to change, I will take a chance on them’,” said Joseph.
The first course starts on November 7 of this year. Details and enrollment can be done on the Change Course website. The Johnsons hope that their program expands in the future, they already have plans for a 50-person program in July next year.