Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Combining Smart Transit With Job Training

Canvassing and talking with voters helps me brainstorm visionary policy ideas.

While canvassing the neighborhoods of the city, I have met a number of residents who never learned how to drive, both young and old. Although we encourage the use of public transportation, we have to deal with the reality that many of today's employment opportunities are in the suburbs surrounding Washington and are often hard to access via public transportation as currently designed. To deal with the need for our residents to reach these jobs, we have to think outside the box. We should start a job training programs that trains unemployed licensed drivers to be driving instructors, then in turn pair those instructors with residents who seek to learn how to drive and provide them with driving instruction utilizing the SmartCar fleet (then incentivize these often low-income residents to join SmartCar after they acquire their license by providing a discount to program participants who join).

This program would have multiple benefits: (1) residents would learn two valuable job skills - how to be a driving instructor (for licensed residents) and how to drive (for unlicensed residents) (2) it would vastly expose the SmartCar brand to our low income residents and boost participation in the program east of the river greatly. Giving unemployed residents access to driving instruction is a simple way to increase the mobility of our workforce and increase the chances that they will find employment (and thereby increase our tax base while reducing local need for our social service programs, saving us money and raising revenue for the city).

It's not often that a politician winds up thinking about how many residents lack mobility while walking, but I'm not your typical politician. Ha.

Program participants should also probably receive a discount on SmartCar membership, to further give them incentive to join.

(Photo from SmartUSA)

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