The Central Missouri Community Action Center of Cooper and Howard counties is conducting a community assessment survey to determine how it will address poverty in the coming years.
The Central Missouri Community Action Center of Cooper and Howard counties is conducting a community assessment to obtain input from the general public, members and community organizations.
The community assessment survey is conducted every three years and is used to determine how to improve agency programming to address poverty and the community’s needs, said CMCA Community Organizer Audrey Phelps.
"All of that is fueled by this community assessment that we do every three years," Phelps said. "...Obviously, we’d like to get as many people to participate as possible."
CMCA needs as many community members to take the survey as possible to form an accurate picture of how the organization’s programs are working. Phelps plans for schools and parents to participate in the assessment.
During CMCA’s 2017 assessment, it was determined that the organization should increase its efforts in community workforce development, she said. Since then, CMCA has worked with students and local businesses across several programs to build workforce skills in younger workers.
"What we noticed is that some of the younger workers were struggling with soft skills like time management and money management," Phelps said.
Phelps said CMCA has been organizing monthly visits between high school students and local business owners to teach them about essential job skills. As part of the workforce development program, the organization also hosts a simulation in which students have to budget for living a month with limited resources, she said.
There are a number of other programs administered by CMCA, including some that focus on providing essential household items to families in poverty, a foster care initiative that aims to increase foster care placements and summer feeding programs.
The assessment will be finished in March. The assessment survey can be accessed via CMCA of Cooper and Howard County’s Facebook page.
Once the survey is complete, Phelps will meet with business owners, local leaders and the general public to help further develop the organization’s goals.