Program gives people transportation to jobs around Madison

YWCA's JobRide gives about 2,000 rides a month

Programs such as the YWCA’s JobRide are helping people with challenges they may face after getting a job.

The latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show Madison’s unemployment rate went up to 5.5 percent, but it’s still well below the state’s unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.

However, once someone actually gets a job, there are other challenges with training, technology, and even finding a way to get to that place of work. There are a number of programs around Madison trying to help.

Mike Jackson has been behind the wheel part time for JobRide for more than two years.

“I’m pretty much in the business of helping others,” Jackson said.

JobRide gives people a reasonably priced ride to work when they can’t afford a car or other transportation. The organization now gives about 2,000 rides a month, and Jackson said he has seen the van fill up more often since he started.

“I’ve seen the numbers of people that are in need of JobRide almost double,” Jackson said.

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The program is aimed at helping economically disadvantaged people who have a job or interviews to get to, but are too far off of the bus line to get there without their own car or a taxi.

Jackie Middleton said she would have been out of the job if she had to rely on friends and taxi services.

“Cab rides were so expensive. I couldn’t afford a cab here and to work. It didn’t make sense to work,” Middleton said.

Middleton finally saved up enough to buy her own car. She said she enjoys the freedom of having her own vehicle, but said she counted on JobRide to get her from her Madison home to her job at a Waunakee day care center.

“I wish more people could take advantage of it,” Middleton said. “I loved it.”

At the Dane County Job Center, staff members are helping 600 to 700 people every month take that first step of finding employment.

Job service team leader Therus Collins said while the number of clients is above average, the job outlook is looking better. He said employers are actually coming to him seeking applicants rather than clients seeking positions.

“I see all sorts of opportunities for everybody,” Collins said. “You can actually have a conversation instead of just hearing stories from job seekers about how tough things are and not be able to give them solutions.”

Most people at the center are busy searching for openings online. Others, such as Yolanda Bohorguez, are earning a special certification. That shows employers that her level of training is up to where it needs to be to get back in the workforce.

“You can’t stop improving your skills, and there’s always something else to add,” Bohorguez said.

Jackson said he’s seeing more people heading to work with JobRide, especially in manufacturing. Most of all, Jackson said people are grateful to the program and for employment.

“People are moving forward and trying not to dwell on the past and kind of live more toward the future and what the future holds or brings,” Jackson said.

Those interested in getting more information about JobRide or who want to use the service can call 608-316-6888 or go to this website

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