Paradox Prize Announces First Round Winners
The Paradox Prize announced the first winners in its competition to connect Northeast Ohioans with job centers. The top award goes to a plan to use church vans in Cleveland for daily commutes to suburban businesses.
Trade group Manufacturing Works will get $100,000 to ferry Swagelok and Vitamix workers from two churches in Cleveland’s Glenville and Lee-Harvard neighborhood to their jobs in Solon and Strongsville. One van will leave from each church twice a day.
The group partnered with Cleveland Clergy Alliance and the American Association of Clergy and Employers. Manufacturing Works executive director Ken Patsey says the service will start with current employees and could begin soon.
“We’ve already talked with the companies and they’re going to provide us information to reach out to employees. If there are enough employees that are ready, that could happen very quickly, but we’ll start that process next week,” he said.
Vans will load passengers at Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church on E. 105th Street in Glenville, and Sure House Baptist Church on Miles Avenue in the Lee-Harvard neighborhood. The latter is the home church of Rev. Aaron Phillips, who also heads the Clergy Alliance.
Getting to work is a problem when folks don’t always have a car and find public transit too expensive or inefficient, says Miesha Headen who also worked on the project.
“People have problems with access to transportation, which means sometimes they have a car or access to somebody else’s car, but the consistency is unreliable," she said. "It’s only in an emergency they need public transportation. We intend to fill those holes, and fill them more efficiently."
Other prize winning transportation projects include a ride-sharing service in Akron and another from Cleveland’s east side to jobs in Lake County. The Paradox Prize plans to award $1 million in three years to support some 15 mobility projects.
This story is part of American Graduate: Getting to Work, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
This story has been changed to reflect that the Paradox Prize is a regional effort.