September 21, 2021
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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is collaborating on a new workforce development pilot launched on February 8 in partnership with rabbittransit, Chester County Transportation Management Association or TMACC, and Urban Outfitters – a program designed to provide jobseekers with public transportation services in order to connect them to employment opportunities previously unreachable due to a lack of transportation options.

[Above photo by PennDOT.]

“Transit is about connecting people with their communities and to jobs,” explained Yassmin Gramian, PennDOT secretary, in a statement. “Through this pilot we aim to expand transit in support of economic growth at the local level, and we’re proud to help facilitate this important partnership.”

Yassmin Gramian. Photo by PennDOT.

This new pilot program covers two corridors in Pennsylvania – Gettysburg to Hanover and Coatesville to Gap – and will operate for two years to determine local transportation needs and future feasibility.

Participating employers have agreed to pay a portion of the costs of public transportation while aligning shift schedules to maximize the number of riders that can use the service, PennDOT said.

Rabbittransit is working with the Adams County Community Foundation to provide new transit service in central Pennsylvania. This portion of the pilot seeks to connect Gettysburg area residents to businesses in Hanover, including Pella Windows and Doors, Yazoo Mills, Winter Gardens, Packaging Corporation of America, Cross Keys Village – the Brethren Home Community, Adams County Rescue Mission, and Adams County Prison.

“Employers working in collaboration with transit is critical to the development of a model for a sustainable workforce solution,” noted Richard Farr, executive director of rabbittransit. “It is our mission to aid in the creation of such partnerships that advance mobility for our communities to thrive. The Workforce Development Pilot Program is an example of such a partnership.”

Photo by PennDOT

“Transportation is one of the key ingredients for any successful workforce development efforts,” noted TMACC Executive Director Tim Phelps, adding that this “transportation initiative reduces one of the barriers to employment and provides opportunities for the residents of Coatesville and surrounding municipalities.”

“When the pilot comes to an end, we will evaluate the needs of the communities involved and determine future feasibility for these locations and possibly others across the state,” noted Melinda McClure, executive director of North American logistics for Urban Outfitters.

“Providing safe and reliable transportation to work is a fundamental responsibility that PennDOT excels at throughout the region and this further enhances its current offerings,” she added. “As we continue to grow this year and, in the years to come, no matter how sophisticated the automation is in our facilities, it always comes down to people.”

editor@aashto.org

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