Chief, Workforce Development Strategies
City of Charlottesville
Country, especially Keith Urban (eg, Better Life).
The city wanted to find more jobs for low-income residents. Meanwhile, the Charlottesville Area Transit was having a hard time finding drivers.
The city established the GO Driver Program (“GO” standing for Growing Opportunity), a training initiative teaching low-income city residents to be bus drivers with Charlottesville Area Transit and Charlottesville City Schools Pupil Transportation. Free to participants, who must have a driver’s license, the classes are provided by Piedmont Virginia Community College, also including classes in customer service and workplace etiquette. GO Driver has graduated 93 residents and placed 87 to date, with an 85% retention rate. GO Driver also provides subsidies for childcare and housing, even after drivers are employed.
Start with an available job before creating a training program because you’ll know what training is preferred. The program needs strong employer partners that will support hiring and training. Support services must be in place to help when things go wrong.
Lee directly oversees GO Driver and its spinoffs, GO Office and GO Utilities, and a similar planned health-care training program.
A Virginia native, has traveled the state for education—Mary Baldwin College (BA, ‘02) and James Madison University (MPA, ‘04)—and work. Hollie started in Charlottesville as an economic development specialist who focused on business development and shifted to workforce development in 2013.
She competed as a youth as a singer in local talent shows.