The Appalachian Regional Commission has announced approval of a $150,000 grant to the Rural Health Network of South Central New York for its GetThere Transportation to Employment Program.

According to a media release, the GetThere program “will provide short-term transportation assistance to individuals who are not able to afford the cost of transportation at the beginning of employment.” GetThere is “primarily a referral based program that works with county social service, workforce development, and human service agencies to assist individuals that are unable to afford the initial cost of transportation to work,” the release said.

While participants build their earnings to cover transportation costs, the program will work with each participant to identify and establish a long-term, sustainable plan to get to and from work.

Each program participant is able to use up to $500 in transportation assistance while building earnings to cover the cost of transportation. Assistance is provided in the form of bus passes, private rides, a network of volunteer drivers and fuel cards, which are used to cover the cost of gas to get to-and-from work in a personal vehicle or through a carpool.

The coordinator, supported by the GetThere program director, will provide outreach, education, and training to agencies on the program, program benefits, and referral process, the release said.

GetThere “will work with employers to help broaden their labor pool and increase attendance and retention related to lack of or limited transportation, saving businesses valuable time and resources, the release said. The cost of transportation is able to be kept to a minimum by using shared transportation which is split between TEP, employers and passengers.

In addition to ARC funds, state sources will provide $150,000, bringing the total project funding to $300,000, according to the release.

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