2022 Impact COMO Award Winner

Jerrell Morton

Most Impactful Staff Member

YouthBuild/Job Point

Honorable Mentions

Kellye Dubinski, City of Refuge
Mark Kirchoff, Flourish Initiative

Since 1965, Job Point has been linking people and jobs by providing career planning and job placement assistance. One of Job Point’s most-successful services has been YouthBuild. The YouthBuild program provides educational opportunity, carpentry training, and leadership development for at-risk youth, and results in affordable housing units sold to eligible families or individuals.

Jerrell Morton has run YouthBuild for 11 years and overseen the operation and management of a $1.3 million grant from the Department of Labor. Through these funds, YouthBuild has been able to provide free education/training services for people ages 16-24 in Boone County and add to the affordable housing market. 

“[We see] the young people we serve through our YouthBuild program enter our doors lost, confused, hurt… find their path to success as they grow mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally in our presence.” 

Jerrell knows his purpose and passion in life is to serve others. He also drives a four-hour commute each day to do so. This work ethic does not go unnoticed. 

Jerrell could undoubtedly make more money working elsewhere, yet he chooses to drive from Kansas City to Columbia every day. His mantra is that we are family and he puts that thought into action every day with his staff and students. 

Whether it’s personally visiting an employee who is ill, ensuring students had plenty of food during the pandemic shut down, mentoring a new coworker, or calming down an upset student, Jerrell approaches all challenges using the philosophy of Love and Logic, Brenda Overkamp says.

Jerrell has many goals for the years ahead. 

“Over the next several years, I would like to lead or be a part of two initiatives which would impact us locally and across the state of Missouri,” he says. “Locally I would like to work with a committee/team to address teenage homelessness. My statewide initiative addresses the need for the YouthBuild program model to echo across Missouri under a state funded coalition. Both initiatives will allow Columbia to lead the state and the nation in an innovative approach towards the protection and education of opportunity youth.”