Job Connector Program: Getting Butler County to Work
A $25,000 grant from the Hamilton Community Foundation to the Butler County Regional Transit Authority (BCTRA) will help both job seekers and employers.
“We are very grateful for the grant,” says Matt Dutkevicz, executive director of BCTRA. The grant will help fund its new Job Connector program, scheduled to begin in April. The program gives workers from Hamilton, Fairfield, Cincinnati, Springdale, Oxford and Middletown the opportunity to work anywhere along its long route. Riders may even connect to the Cincinnati Metro System for even further opportunities.
Dutkevicz says that the project solves a vital community need: connecting workers with jobs and creating better access between jobs and residential areas. The bigger, long term impact will be increased tax revenues and community vibrancy.
The grant fits with the Foundation’s strategic plan objective to increase economic vitality by focusing on increasing the number of people who are prepared for employment.
“We are trying to be an economic tool,” said Dutkevicz, who expects that in its first year, the Job Connector will provide 10,000 trips to and from work.
Besides reliable transportation for new employees, he believes that local employers will also see improvement in worker retention, as lack of transportation can be a barrier to keeping a job.
The fare per person on the long, new R6 Route (named so because it is the 6th major route BCTRA provides) is just $2.00. To ensure transit hours accommodate varying work shifts, adjustments to the schedule and its stops may be needed as the program progresses.
For several years, BCTRA has been trying to help solve to the work transportation gap in Butler County that has left more than 13,000 annual work trips unserved. Local employers contemplating the same problem contacted BCTRA for solutions. Both employer and employee needs were considered throughout the program’s extensive planning process.
Dutkevicz says the long term hope is that local employers, workers, municipalities and elected officials recognize the value of public transportation and support sustainable local funding initiatives.