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Welcome to the September 2019 issue of the MassMobility newsletter.  Read on to learn about a new pilot program to improve mobility for low-income youth, a multi-county mobility conversation in Western Massachusetts, and more news about transportation for older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income individuals in Massachusetts.

The newsletter is compiled by  MassMobility , an initiative of the  Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services .
MassDOT extends funding deadline
MassDOT has extended the deadline for Workforce Transportation Grants two weeks to October 11.
New pilot covers drivers' education fees for low-income youth in Lowell
CTI YouthBuild is piloting a new approach to helping low-income youth access jobs to help them move out of poverty: paying for drivers' education and licensing fees. Thanks to a grant from Kronos, YouthBuild will be able to pay fees for 10 participating youth this year.
YouthBuild serves at-risk youth from Lowell between the ages of 16 and 24. Through the program, participants study for their High School Equivalency Test, receive vocational training in a carpentry/construction or culinary/hospitality track, and study life skills - including financial literacy. Participants graduate the program with industry-recognized certifications, but many do not have access to a car and are therefore limited to jobs that are on the bus line and shifts that are within the bus operating hours, as relying on taxis, Uber, or Lyft can be prohibitively expensive.
Recognizing that many restaurant and construction opportunities in the region are not accessible by bus, or have early morning or night hours, YouthBuild program staff identified transportation as a barrier they wanted to address. They learned from participants that drivers' education and related fees can add up to $900 - an insurmountable sum for many. YouthBuild came up with the idea of covering these costs for participants, and Program Director Siobhan Sheehan successfully pitched the idea to employees of Kronos, a local company that funds initiatives through its GiveInspired program.
CTI is currently identifying a drivers' education school and plans to offer the classes in October so that students can be driving by the time they graduate YouthBuild in December. The financial coaching already incorporated into the program will help participants save to buy a car and pay insurance.
Forum brings stakeholders together across four counties
A Western Massachusetts Transportation Forum held in Northampton on September 13 drew stakeholders from Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties, including the Administrators of all three Western Mass Regional Transit Authorities and a number of state representatives and senators. After opening remarks from two transit riders, State Senator Eric Lesser delivered a keynote speech. The majority of the forum was devoted to a lightning round: nine five-minute talks highlighting efforts underway to expand mobility, including community transportation services such as the Hilltown Easy Ride and Quaboag Connector, public transit, and rail initiatives including the Valley Flyer. At the end, attendees broke into small groups to share their reactions and discuss opportunities for enhancing mobility in the future. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts organized the forum, in partnership with other regional and statewide organizations.
Massachusetts presents at national conference
On August 29, the National Home and Community Based Services Conference in Baltimore, Maryland featured a panel on expanding mobility for older adults beyond medical transportation. This panel included two presenters from Massachusetts: Kathryn Downes, Program and Policy Manager at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs  (EOEA) , and Lisa Gurgone, Executive Director of Mass Home Care. Presenters from Maine, Oklahoma, and the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) also participated on the panel.
The session highlighted federal, state, regional, and local perspectives . NADTC kicked it off with an overview of their recent study on transportation challenges facing older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers across the country. EOEA then spoke about the transportation recommendations of the Governor's Council to Address Aging . Mass Home Care highlighted regional approaches that Aging Service Access Points (ASAPs) and Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) in Massachusetts have taken to enhance mobility for older adults, including volunteer transportation , partnering with Transportation Network Companies , and joining an advocacy coalition . The final two presentations discussed local efforts that received NADTC grants to expand access to groceries for people living in food deserts in Maine and Oklahoma.
THE RIDE shares information about upcoming software shift
In advance of a change in software coming later this fall, The MBTA's RIDE has published an explanation for riders, as well as an FAQ. They also mailed this information to all RIDE customers.
Federal government seeks feedback
The federal Department of Transportation and Department of Labor are seeking insights on what prevents people with disabilities from accessing transportation to work. Share your thoughts in an online forum through the month of September.
Upcoming professional development opportunities
The National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) is offering a free, self-paced,  online course on medical transportation. Register by September 30 to participate. The course runs from September 20 through October 18.

The National Center for Mobility Management is offering two webinars on the intersections between public health and community transportation. The first webinar is scheduled for October 10, and the second is on November 6.

The National Transit Institute is offering a course on Advancing Mobility Management in various locations around the country, including Springfield, MA on March 25 and 26. This two-day course is targeted to staff of transit agencies, regional planners, recipients of Community Transit Grants, and others who have worked in mobility management for between one and five years.  Transit authorities and government agencies can send staff for free; otherwise, the cost is $300 per participant.
Job posting
The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) is hiring a Community Mobility Associate in Washington DC. Applications are due September 30.
High school video contest
MassDOT invites high school students to submit roadway safety videos to the annual Safe Streets/Smart Trips contest. Submissions are due October 4. Video submissions must align with MassDOT's "scan the street for wheels and feet" campaign, highlight crash statistics, and offer tips for how to avoid crashes. Winners will receive prizes and will be recognized at this year's Moving Together Conference.
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