Funding delay halts plan to bring in workers

November 23, 1995|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore group planning to bus city residents to jobs along U.S. 1 in the Jessup-Laurel industrial corridor has postponed its plans until next year.

The Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition had hoped to begin its $2.8 million project two months ago, said Scot Spencer, the coalition's director for physical development. But the federal money, which is to be dispensed through a nonprofit Philadelphia group, may not be available until next year, Mr. Spencer said.

"We are confident we will receive funding for our program. It's just a matter of time," he said. "There is still a need for it."

The coalition's Bridges to Work program is intended to help employers by funneling unemployed city residents to jobs in the area. Many employers say limited public transportation makes it hard to fill low-wage jobs, especially for late-night shifts.

Richard W. Story, executive director of the county's Economic Development Authority, said the Baltimore group's program would offer a creative way to deal with the challenge of filling vacant entry-level jobs in an area with limited mass transportation.

"We have to reach out further to identify people who are willing to fill good, but lower-paying jobs in Howard County," he said.

The coalition's help to fix the problem "would have been %J wonderful," said Karen O'Neill, coordinator for the county's Commuter Assistance office. There are at least 29 employers along U.S. 1 that are open 24 hours a day, she said.

In June, her office helped survey employers and workers in the U.S. 1 area about their transportation habits and needs. When results from the survey are released, the next step will be to meet with employers and develop transportation options, she said.

Those options could include car and van pools and asking the state's Mass Transit Administration to run a bus route to the county at an hour convenient to night workers, she said.

"There are a lot of people out there who really want to work and the only issue is transportation," Ms. O'Neill said.

Police log

North Laurel: 9100 block of Tumbleweed: Someone tried to pry a screen from a window Monday afternoon in a failed burglary attempt.

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