On December 20, 2017, five graduates of the MOKAN Construction Training program, developed in partnership with SLATE, were the first to participate in the St. Louis LYFT Pilot Project. The construction graduates utilized the popular ride-share service for transportation from home to work and back again. The pilot program is designed to help participants of SLATE construction training programs to minimize the barrier of transportation inequity for apprentices as they work toward gainful employment in the construction industry.
Many SLATE program participants reside in marginalized communities in St. Louis, and face barriers to gainful employment due to high rates of poverty and a lack of resources. Construction graduates face the particular challenge of transportation options for traveling to training and employment opportunities, as their employers’ construction sites are often inaccessible through public transportation.
The LYFT Pilot Project aims to address transportation inequity though a partnership between SLATE, LYFT, private sector employers, and local developer Niehaus Building Services, LLC. In the December launch, a LYFT driver transported the five MOKAN graduates in one SUV from their homes to training and, potentially, employment site at Neihaus Building Services, LLC., and back home again. Transportation costs for the five riders totaled $11 each way.
The LYFT Pilot Project utilizes a combination of private and public funding to facilitate the program, including WIOA funding for eligible participants. LYFT Pilot participants will book their transportation through SLATE, to track participant use and ensure fiscal accountability. Once graduates are placed in employment and are earning regular income, LYFT transportation costs become the responsibility of the employed workers.