Five programs in the Bridges to Work demonstration have functioned as a labor market exchange--with the main services being job matching and transportation coordination--for job-ready inner-city workers and suburban employment. The logistics of transportation have been simple; the basics of employment have been an ongoing challenge. Sites have struggled with recruitment because of strong economic growth, insufficient credibility, and local employment organizations reluctant to work with Bridges. Revised recruitment includes expansion of original neighborhoods and more creative and flexible approaches to outreach. Since most participants were not job-ready, sites have added job readiness training and support for recent placements to boost retention. Four principles to guide planning and implementation of transportation services are the following: flexible, extensive routes and schedules; punctual, reliable service; quick response to unplanned events and emergencies; and no transportation for other purposes. The Bridges program should include the transportation provider early in the program planning process, select one with the capacity and vehicles that best fit the program, select firms whose main business is transportation, and avoid changing providers. Bridges' experience shows transportation alone will not connect applicants and jobs. Intensive recruitment, job preparation, and retention services make more effective programs. (author abstract)
Overcoming roadblocks on the way to work: Bridges to work field report
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