Ninth Annual JWCC Foundation and WGEM Career Makeover Competition Underway

Ashley Sparks receives a large check to cover tuition
January 6, 2021

2020 Career Makeover winner Ashley Sparks receiving her award from Natalie Will from WGEM and Barb Holthaus from the JWCC Foundation.

Winner earns free tuition, fees and books; Application deadline is January 24

Every day adults are reinventing their careers by taking courses and earning degrees at John Wood Community College.  However, not all of them can say they are attending for free.

The JWCC Foundation and WGEM have partnered for a ninth year to provide a free career makeover for one deserving individual. Ashlee Sparks of Palmyra, MO, won last year’s Career Makeover contest and is working on her associate degree with a focus in healthcare.

“I entered the Career Makeover to prove to myself first I could do it and be proud of the accomplishment. Secondly, I did it for my family and especially my daughter, to show them the power of perseverance and to always reach for the stars.” Sparks shared.

Adults 24 years of age or older, who are not current or recent JWCC students, can apply for the opportunity at One winner will earn a scholarship from the JWCC Foundation to cover up to 68 credit hours, or completion of a selected degree or certificate, including tuition, fees and books.  Interested individuals are encouraged to visit the site to view the contest process, rules and regulations. Two runners-up will receive a $500 scholarship to go towards the cost of their program. Applications will be accepted until January 24.

“The JWCC Foundation creates educational opportunities,” Barb Holthaus, JWCC Foundation executive director said.  “Thanks to the continued partnership with WGEM, the Career Makeover contest is a public way of showing the power education has to change someone’s path in life.”

WGEM supports the project as an extension of serving the community and partnership with JWCC.

“The Career Makeover is life changing,” said Carlos Fernandez, WGEM.  “We have so many outstanding applicants every year who invest in themselves through education.  We are proud to partner with John Wood to help the next winner change his or her life.”

Now more than ever is the time to develop new skills or start a new career.  Regional employers are searching for individuals with the right skills to begin a career and greatly value employees willing to pursue education to help drive their company forward.

“Last year’s applicants inspired us and we get to see the recent winners every day on campus work toward their goals,” Michael Elbe, JWCC president said. “We are proud of them, and all of our adult students, who balance full-time jobs, family and school to make their lives better.”

More information is available at  Individuals without internet access may pick up paper application materials at JWCC or WGEM.


John Wood Community College is the educational link between business and community. JWCC collaboratively creates innovative and relevant academic and training programs with business leaders to educate young people and the workforce for today's needs and tomorrow's opportunities. JWCC has centers in Quincy, Pittsfield, Baylis and Mt. Sterling, Illinois. Programs include a comprehensive baccalaureate transfer curriculum, customized business training, career/technical degrees, certificates, and personal enrichment courses.