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Community - May 18, 2023

Waupaca County's 'Catch a Ride' program breaks down transportation barriers for workers

WAUPACA (WLUK) -- A Waupaca County program was highlighted for giving workers more than just a lift to work.

On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation held a celebration for the "Catch a Ride" program at Waupaca Foundry.

Waupaca County's 'Catch a Ride' program breaks down transportation barriers for workers, May 17, 2023. (WLUK)

The program reached a milestone, offering more than 1,000 rides to and from work.

It is supported by the Workforce Innovation Grant from WEDC and the Department of Workforce Development.

"The goals of this is to meet people where they are and understand that everybody wants the opportunity to fully participate in the economy sometimes there are barriers that keep them from being able to do that," said CEO of WEDC, Missy Hughes.

“We have helped a number of folks gain employment,” said Valerie Lefler, CEO and founder of Feonix-Mobility Rising, a national nonprofit which is helping run the Waupaca County Catch-a-Ride program. “We’ve helped folks maintain employment. We’ve helped people who are transplants from other states and afraid to drive on snow or ice get to work safely. We’ve also helped individuals who were unhoused living in a rural community get a job for the first time in years.”

The grant currently subsidizes rides so users pay just $3 per ride but to keep the program sustainable, partners will need to look for other revenue sources and new ways to support low-income riders.

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