Monday, March 30, 1998
Governor John Engler announced today the release of $2 million to improve systems that transport workers to jobs. The improvements will specifically target Work First clients who are unable to work because they lack transportation. It will also allow businesses to access a previously unavailable pool of workers."We have plenty of jobs in Michigan today; we need to make every effort to ensure that transportation is not a barrier to getting a job for anyone, whether they are a Work First client or anyone else who needs to get to their job," said Governor Engler. "This program not only helps those who are struggling to get to and from work every day, but also employers who are desperately in need of workers."The Michigan Department of Transportation, through an interdepartmental agreement, will transfer $2 million to the Michigan Jobs Commission to administer the program, which will be implemented by local Workforce Development Boards, commonly known as Michigan Works! agencies. It will help local communities improve the transportation links between their residents and the businesses in need of workers. Local Michigan Works! agencies will work with public and private transportation providers and specialized transportation providers in their communities to propose transportation plans for their areas. The plans will be reviewed by the Michigan Department of Transportation, Michigan Jobs Commission and Family Independence Agency. The minimum funding level is $10,000, but specific grants are based on the community's Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) caseload numbers. The release of the money to the local Michigan Works! agencies will begin as soon as a plan has been submitted to and approved by the state."The program is flexible, so what may work in the Grand Rapids area may not work in Metro Detroit. Local communities will have the flexibility to develop their own plan, re-route bus lines or even purchase vans," said Doug Rothwell, CEO and department director of the Michigan Jobs Commission. "This program will help move workers within a community to where the jobs are. In some instances we have workers who are qualified and want to work but lack a mode of transportation to get to and from a job. This money will help address that problem." Workforce development programs are administered locally through the Michigan Works! Agency and are appointed by local elected officials. Through this private-public partnership, Michigan's workforce development system delivers programs in four essential areas: School-to-Work, Welfare-to-Work, Unemployment-to-Work and Work-to-Work.