Home > Blog > May 2020 > The Paradox Prize and METRO RTA: Connecting our Community

The Paradox Prize and METRO RTA: Connecting our Community

Thursday, May 28, 2020 by [email protected]

Public transportation plays a key role in Greater Akron, particularly relative to its connection to workforce. Without reliable and easily accessible public transportation, the workforce cannot access jobs and employers are unable to access their employees.  Fortunately, Northeast Ohio is home to one of the most innovative transportation projects, aiming to solve the ‘transportation paradox’ in a sustainable manner through The Paradox Prize. And here in Summit County, our local METRO RTA is working towards to the same goal. As the climate around COVID-19 requires increasing attention and care, METRO RTA continues to play a lead role in ensuring that people can not only access transportation reliably, but also in as safe of an environment as possible.
 
In June 2019, the Fund for Our Economic Future, along with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, Greater Cleveland Partnership, The Lozick Family Foundation, Cuyahoga County, the Cleveland Foundation, and DriveOhio, launched The Paradox Prize, a $1 million public challenge to invest in big ideas that improve the mobility of Northeast Ohio’s workers .The Paradox Prize stemmed from the need to create sustainable solutions that can eliminate the ‘transportation paradox’ in Northeast Ohio: no car, no job; no job, no car. In less than a year, they have provided over $1 million in funding to three rounds of eight winners. This funding supports pilot programs and projects, testing mobility solutions that will improve transportation access for local people and connect them directly to jobs and training, solving a key workforce need in the economy. In light of COVID-19, The Paradox Prize has launched a new matchmaking service to support non-profits that may have experienced a surge in mobility needs. This service matches non-profits with public transportation resources that may be able to support to them due to a reduction in services for the time being.
 
METRO RTA has been working to create a more sustainable workforce mobility system in Summit County as a first round winner of the Paradox Prize. This allowed them to test their pilot FlexRide program in conjunction with ConxusNEO. This is a door-to-door service connecting workers to job hubs in northern Summit County. As COVID-19 became both a major health concern and economic strain, the staff at METRO quickly adjusted in many ways to ensure that the population who was relying on their services, could continue to do so. Starting in April and until TBD date, all rides on any of their services are free. They have amped up their cleaning services, they have requested that all patrons sit as far away from the bus operators as possible, and they launched an “I Am Essential” campaign on their social media that showcases METRO employees from all different departments, from bus operators and mechanics, to dispatchers and inventory clerks. The campaign brings a light to social media that is much needed during these times.
 
Reliable public transportation is a key component to a successful economy. The Paradox Prize and METRO RTA and playing vital roles in the development and growth of our regional businesses.
 
For more information on The Paradox Prize or METRO RTA, visit https://paradoxprize.com/ and https://www.akronmetro.org/.
Posted: Thursday, May 28, 2020 by [email protected] | with 75 comments
Filed under: #ChooseGrowth


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