Missouri Job Center changes lives by instilling confidence through resources and soft skills


Westside resident Joey Padgett takes nothing for granted. In less than two years, she has changed her life for the better for her and her three children.

Two years ago, Padgett was in a marriage plagued by domestic violence. One day, she decided she’d had enough. She moved to Springfield a few months later and found the Missouri Job Center, where she received a number of free services, including help obtaining her GED certificate and new eyeglasses. But she says what impacted her the most was her participation in the Change One Thousand program.

“I know people who are looking for help and feel defeated, and they are hesitant to go through these programs, but honestly it’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” she said.

Change One Thousand is a free, eight-day soft-skills academy that teaches personal finance, productivity and how to let go of bad habits and behaviors.

Besides resume writing and job interview techniques, the class also teaches students how to create a professional image and communicate effectively.

For many students, the greatest takeaway from the program is the confidence to make positive changes in their lives — like getting and keeping a job.

“Change One Thousand taught me to think better of myself,” Padgett said. “I want to provide a better life for my children,” she added.

After completing Change One Thousand, Padgett had the confidence to get a job to support her children; Elizabeth, 4; Isabelle, 13; and Kristopher, 31, who is autistic.

She now works at a women’s rehab center as a behavioral health technician. She said she enjoys being able to help those who struggle with addiction.

“I was not an addict, but my former husband was,” she said, “and I know what that’s like.”

Nowadays, Joey enjoys the little things in life, like buying new bedding for her children or a new canister set for her kitchen.

“I actually cried when I bought the canister set because I had been using coffee cans,” she said. “Change One Thousand changed my life. I have pride in myself and I will not go back.”

To find out more, or to register for the next Change One Thousand class, contact the Missouri Job Center at 417-887-4343 or visit changeonethousand.org. Visit the Missouri Job Center at its two locations in Springfield at 2900 E. Sunshine and in the Cox North Medical Tower at 1443 N. Robberson.


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