Stark Career Connect
The Stark Career Connect pilot is all about collaboration and integration. Strengthening Stark, a countywide economic development collaborative, worked with a dozen local organizations, including the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority, to better integrate transportation supports into workforce development services. Through regular meetings, this group committed to connecting job seekers with in-demand jobs, sharing insights, resources and helping each other address barriers that exist for job seekers. More than 400 people have been supported by Stark Career Connect, many of whom needed transportation supports ranging from free transit passes to minor car repairs, to maintain and advance in careers. The effort placed individuals in jobs at nearly 140 different employers.
The pilot underscored the need for flexible and individualized wraparound supports within workforce development. Aleisha Stout of Strengthening Stark relayed a success story: An individual, making less than $10 an hour working as a home health aide, had no car or reliable transportation and lacked general support. With the support of one of Stark Career Connect’s many workforce development partners, the individual connected to Aultman’s STNA train-to-hire program. With The Paradox Prize funding, Stark Career Connect provided a bus pass for the woman’s first 31 days of employment. She was then able to budget for her own bus expense and after a few months of stable employment and a higher wage (nearly $17 an hour), purchased a reliable car.