What educators and participants say about Tackling the Tough Skills


Workplace educators

Educator, healthcare provider

Video: MU Extension training program helps prepare BJC employees
Tackling the Tough Skills has been used since Fall 2007 to teach a course called Life Lessons to BJC HealthCare employees in St. Louis. (3:50)


"The reaction from employees who have participated in the program has been absolutely positive. The feedback from employees and supervisors has been consistent regarding the value of the program and the impact it has made — both personally and professionally. The unanticipated benefit has been the demand for us to continue offering the program. The best advertising has come from the previous participants!"


— JoAnn M. Shaw
Vice President, Chief Learning Officer
BJC HealthCare, St. Louis, Mo.

"As a certified Tackling the Tough Skills facilitator, we were the first to offer the course in the St. Louis region in healthcare. The course is solid, interactive and impactful and has equipped our employees with some solid tools to integrate into their work life as well as personal life. The results from the course have been powerful and greater than we ever anticipated."

— Linda Word, RN, BSN, MA
Senior Program Manager - Clinical Programs
BJC HealthCare, St. Louis, Mo.


Community educators

Educator, welfare-to-work

"I received my curriculum and I couldn’t be more impressed. It is exactly what I was looking for. My classes [welfare-to-work] start next week, and I am anxious to get started."

— Anacosta, Wash.

"I have used the curriculum to work with welfare-to-work clients, as well as . . . with juniors and seniors in high school, and an adult component as well. And I guess the experience that I’ve had the most is that everybody seems to get something from it. They are able to draw on it, apply it to their own lives, no matter who they are, no matter if they are a 60-year-old welfare recipient, or a 16-year-old high school student."

— St. Louis, Mo.


Educator, youth

"I use the curriculum with youth, 8-18. They love it! I have been really excited about using it. It has been very helpful."

— Montgomery City, Mo.


Educator of unemployed

"(I work with) chronically unemployed clients who have made a formal commitment to change their work and life circumstances. They appreciate the levity of certain quotes and scenarios (in Tough Skills), which add greatly to their motivation to learn."

— Vancouver, Canada


Educator, hard-to-reach audiences

"This curriculum is great. There is nothing else out here like it. I want to use it all over the state of Alabama."

— Huntsville, Ala.


Educator, prisoners

(Before using Tough Skills): "I remember the first time that I was assigned to go into the jails, and we talked about things like making money, and parenting, and nutrition . . . And I noticed the guys really weren’t interested. I found them looking out the window and talking to each other, and, you know, we have a cycle of six classes. The first class, you know, the guys come there 12 in a class. The next week, I noticed there was about four guys who would come to the class. And by the third week, I was sitting in there by myself . . ."

(After using Tackling the Tough Skills) "So I told my supervisor . . . and she came up with this Tackling the Tough Skills curriculum. So she told me to try this. And with that, we started out with 12. The second week, there’s 12 there. The third week, there’s 12 there. And there’s a waiting line now. We have waiting lines."

— New York, N.Y.



Healthcare manager

"I can really see a difference in myself and my staff has commented on it positively."

— St. Louis, Mo.


Healthcare employees

It gave me the clarity to make difficult decisions that needed to be made."

"One of the most helpful things I learned in this class was how to control my anger and find a more effective way to discuss the problem."

"I take time for myself. I'm looking for a hobby to do. I apply 'team' work with my family — not just work."

"One of the most helpful things I learned in this class was how to communicate more and handle conflict better."

"I recommend this class to everyone."

"Everyone should take this class."

"There is something for everyone to learn and benefit from."

"Many can learn from this class no matter where they are in their life."

— St. Louis, Mo.



"Well, it motivated me. It gave me the motivation that I needed and I was lacking for a while. I had given up hope of ever returning to the workplace. I am now working in a general office setting."

"I have learned to stop saying ‘can’t’ — ‘can’t get this job,’ ‘I can’t do that’ or ‘I can’t go to school’ or, you know, ‘I’m not smart enough.’ [I know I must] go ahead and be positive about things and go ahead and try."

"I learned how to not be so angry about things, be positive about life and about raising my children and everything. I learned that just because I don’t have a lot of money doesn’t mean that I can’t be anything, you know?"

". . . it motivated me to get up and . . . look for a job, instead of, you know, sitting around the house and watching soap operas and all."

"A lot has changed. Because me and my son communicate better than we used to. He’s doing a lot more in the house than he used to because I’m not criticizing him or putting him down about certain things. My relationship with my daughter is a lot better. . . . I don’t look at them like I used to. I used to look at them in a very negative way. Now I look at them like everybody has flaws and you just have to work your way around it."

"My future goals now are to be totally independent and to not rely on TANF, food stamps or Social Security or any other type of subsidiary benefits and depend solely on myself."

— All females, St. Louis, Mo.



"The time I have been [in this class], it kind of strengthened my value system and made me appreciate people more. It made me look at the bigger picture instead of just lookin' at one side — my side — and other people's opinions and values in life."

— Male, St. Louis, Mo.

"It gives me the opportunity to look at myself and understand where I'm at and what are some things I need to do to get to where I'm going . . . You know, the responsibilities lie with self. And you look at yourself, and you deal with that, which will enable you to deal with what's going on in your life."

— Male, St. Louis, Mo.

". . . you get a lot out of it because it opens up your mind. Instead of thinking negative, you open up to positive, you know, thinking about steps you can take to make better decisions."

— Female, St. Louis, Mo.