Job Point may get funding from the city

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COLUMBIA - An organization designed to help people is possibly getting some help of its own from the city of Columbia.

On Monday, the Columbia City Council decided to reserve $250,000 of leftover funds from the 2016 fiscal year to Job Point, pending the organization meets a list of negotiated agreements.

Job Point is an employment center that seeks to link unemployed residents with jobs and professional resources. 

Third Ward Councilmember Karl Skala and other members discussed the benefits of using the funds to help city departments, local projects and organizations.

"Everyone was looking at this thorny problem of governments that have the reputation of spending up to their budget and if you don't spend it you lose it," Skala said.

"This incentive idea is attractive and I think it's worked well."

Steven A. Smith is the the president and CEO of Job Point. He said finding out the the city actually reserved the money was a step in the right direction.

"It feels good to know that the city is thinking of us and how we can help the community," Smith said. "It opens up new possibilities for the kinds of classes, programming and resources we can offer our students."

Smith said it's important to note all of the things Job Point has to offer. Outside of employment assistance, the program offers help finding housing, disability services and more.

"I think the idea here is that we want to be able to provide more resources to more people, and that's what these fund can help us do," Smith said.

In order to receive the funds, Job Point must first raise $250,000 of its own. Then it must meet goals set by the city council.

"Of course the money isn't placed in our hands immediately but this gets the ball rolling," Smith said.

"We're just grateful to have this opportunity and we look forward to expanding our program and possibly buying our building."