Blog Post Collaboration between UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute and Mode Shift Omaha
Last month we highlighted the high number of Nebraska individuals with disabilities that see transportation as a major barrier to living an independent, fulfilling life. This week we want to share a program that brings hope to many and can fill a gap.
Lyft recently launched a jobs access program that will offer free rides to job interviews, job training programs and to work for the first 3 weeks of a job. Omaha is 1 of 35 cities that will be involved in the program. Leaders at Munroe Meyer Institute cite many positive benefits to this program. First, many individuals with disabilities need job training and this program provides access to it. A free ride to a job interview and free ride to work during the first three weeks makes the individual more likely to apply for the job and feel like they can take the job if offered. It also gives the individual a little time to see if they like the job and gives them time to make a plan that can help get them to work. The free ride lasts until the individual gets their first paycheck – that paycheck can open up more opportunities to make it easier to get to work. Some may even be able to move closer to their job or they may be able to purchase a vehicle to gain the accessibility they need if they can’t get to work via the bus or other public transit.
This program has the capacity to bring a lot of hope and open doors to employment for many. But, there are still concerns. What if there are still barriers to get to work after the first 3 weeks on the job? Some employers will help individuals get to work, but that is not the norm. What if the employee doesn’t live where they can walk, bike or use transit? What if they can’t pay for Lyft on a daily basis or can’t afford their own car?
We applaud Lyft for this program as it provides a needed resource that will allow people that don’t have access to a car a much better shot at getting and keeping a job. At the same time, it doesn’t eliminate or reduce the need for frequent and reliable public transit that reaches all parts of the metropolitan region at varied times of the day.
You can join Lyft in supporting this important work by donating to partners like the USO through their Round Up & Donate program. With each ride, your donation will help support the USO’s efforts to connect transitioning service members and veterans with Jobs Access rides, as well as support programs for active service members and their families. Tap ‘Donate’ in the main menu of your Lyft app to opt-in. Our friends at Munroe Meyer feel that these donations are valuable and also will help keep the program sustainable for those they serve!
To see Lyft’s press release on this program, click here.