About Change Course

Empowering Future Leaders

Change Course is a career development program that provides training in highly sought-after skills along with leadership and personal development, to give people in Des Moines a way to stop living paycheck to paycheck and launch a career.

Father and Daughter

Change Course’s Mission

Affordable, effective, and short-term career training is almost impossible to find. Change Course has identified highly sought-after careers in our community. We offer free training and pay you to start a new career in as little as four months. Students who have completed the program in other areas of the country are earning on average more than $18 per hour in jobs with upward mobility and full benefits, including health care and paid vacation time.

Our mission is to put an end to relational, economic, and spiritual inequities by giving hope, untapping creativity, and empowering participants with career skills surrounded by and involved in a loving community.

Within one year of graduating from our career training program, graduates of the same model, Uprise Nashville, report an average pay increase of $19,600.

Change Course is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit formed in 2022 to assist families living in poverty to remove the barriers in their lives (such as inadequate education, poor support network, and inability to navigate the existing programs) that are keeping them from emerging out of poverty and becoming self-sufficient. Change Course provides training, support, and connections to a network of other partners (such as educational and employment opportunities) to support program participants in their journey out of poverty.

Change Course CEO, Joseph Johnson’s testimony


Joseph Johnson

Joseph Johnson

Change Course CEO
Board Member

Karin Johnson

Karin Johnson

Director of Programs
Board Member

Board Members Jerry and Nancy Foster

Jerry and Nancy Foster

Board Members

Jeff Johnson Photo

Jeff Johnson

Board Member

Change Course Board Member Tom Budler

Thomas Budler

Board Member


Joe Johnson - Founder/CEO



Karin Johnson - Director or Programs


Director of Programs

Dani Magulado - Lead Career Coach


Lead Career Coach

Bradford Johnson - Director of Communications


Director of Communications

Nicole Neal - Administrative Assistant


Administrative Assistant

Hope+Elim Church

Change Course Office

Our office is located on the third floor of Hope-Elim Church in room #311. Enter via the south door (right off the parking lot) and contact us at (515) 779-6108. We will let you in upon arrival.


Hope-Elim Church
2500 University Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50311

Man with arms outreached beneath Change Course logo


If you’re unable to find an answer to your question, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We’ll add it to the list.


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Jeff JohnsonBoard Member

Jeff Johnson is an accomplished CEO with over 23 years of experience running his 4th generation family business, Johnson Machine Works. He is also the founder of his own executive coaching service, Artists + Writers, as well as Crossroads Apologetics, a ministry focused on sharing Christian Apologetic resources in the Des Moines Area and worldwide. He is honored to serve on the board of directors at Change Course as well as Brandon McNace Ministries. Jeff is a sought-after public speaker and currently serves on the speaking team at CrossTrainers DesMoines. He is a devoted husband to his wife of 25 years, Danielle, and a loving father to his exceptional children Meredith, Noah, Hannah, and Emmett. From growing up in a small town in southern Iowa to enjoying the success of a life well lived, Jeff believes that it’s not the final achievement that counts as much as the character built along the journey.

Ally Application

Thomas BudlerBoard Member

Tom Budler retired from the Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company family of businesses in February 2022 after 35 years of service. Tom worked for MidAmerican Energy Company for 25 of those years in various capacities including generation construction and operations, gas and electric operations, and wind generation development, construction, and operations. In 2012 Tom transitioned to BHE Renewables, LLC where he was responsible for growing its nationwide wind generation portfolio. In 2015 he also assumed additional responsibility to initiate, grow and manage BHE Renewables’ tax equity investment portfolio.

Tom has been married to his wife Cindy for 25 wonderful years and they reside in Norwalk, Iowa. He is a member of Valley Evangelical Free Church and volunteers regularly with the Hand-In-Hand Special Needs Ministry and the Valley Disaster Relief team.

Jerry & Nancy FosterBoard Members

Jerry and Nancy Foster have been married for 44 years and reside in Des Moines, Iowa. They have four children and numerous grandchildren.

Jerry is the founder of Foster Group, which is a wealth management firm, serving over 1,500 families and organizations. He is also the author of LifeFocus; Achieving a Life of Purpose and Influence. Nancy has dedicated her life to pouring into her family and mentoring women all over the world.

Together, Jerry and Nancy spoke with FamilyLife marriage conferences for over 22 years. They’ve also been involved in the development of a sustainable economic and personal development model in El Rosario, Guatemala with several other couples. They are passionate about helping change the paradigm for others and creating sustainable life change.

Karin JohnsonChange Course Director of Programs & Board Member

Karin and Joseph have been married for 42 years with four kids and six grandchildren. Karin was a gymnastics coach for 25 years with a passion to help young people achieve their goals through structure and hard work. Her love for the kids made her very successful in developing very competitive teams.

Responding to a conviction that the next generation of leaders needs to understand how to use the bible as their guide, Karin began teaching a weekly millennial generation bible study over 15 years ago which still continues today.

Using her gifts of teaching and mercy, Karin has counseled women and struggling marriages for many years after experiencing many challenges in her own family from marriage struggles to family member addiction, recovery, and incarceration.

Joseph JohnsonChange Course CEO & Board Member

After making poor choices at age 35 in an effort to be someone I really wasn’t, life fell apart with my marriage and my relationships and as a family, we lost everything. Those choices led to incarceration in a federal prison camp in Yankton, SD where I would begin a complete change in the course of my life. In prison, I would meet men who would change my view of who had opportunities in this country and who didn’t. I came to realize that many of the men, most of whom would be released and return within 3 years of their release, did not have the same opportunity for change that I did. I was surrounded by a loving community, given a chance at a new career because of that community, and had the opportunity to have a successful career in business over the last 25 years. 

In February of 2022, I left the business world determined to really make a difference and respond to the burden that has been on my heart for the last 25 years. That is why in February of 2022 we founded Change Course. Karin and I are committed to creating the community and opportunities for the less fortunate stuck in poverty or the cycle of prison so they can become a leader and change the course of their lives.

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Change Course is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit.
Your donation is deductible to the full extent of the law.

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