Bizzarro, Merski: $141,900 grant will help workers break through transportation barriers

HARRISBURG, Jan. 10 – A $141,900 grant to a northwest Pennsylvania employment and training program will help working families retain jobs by providing reliable transportation assistance, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro and Robert Merski, both D-Erie, announced today.

The Northwest Workforce Investment Act funding will benefit St. Benedict Education Center EARN participants by removing transportation-related obstacles that can affect their ability to maintain employment.

“A reliable means of getting to and from work is critical for working families,” Bizzarro said. “This grant will provide essential support for program participants by helping them with the costs of getting a license reinstated, paying for car repairs or footing the bill for other transportation-related services. The funding will go a long way toward bringing stability in this area for families needing it.”

“Programs like this one are all about helping hardworking families succeed as they work to give themselves and their children a better life,” Merski said. “If this funding helps break down the barriers that stand in that way of that, it’s hard to imagine a more worthwhile investment.”

Participants become eligible for transportation assistance under the program once they obtain a minimum 20-hour-a-week job.

The grant is part of a package of more than $1 million the state Department of Human Services is dispersing to provide greater support to people using locally run Employment, Advancement and Retention Network (EARN) programs.

The funding comes from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. TANF is a federally funded program that assists families with children when parents or other responsible relatives struggle to make ends meet and provide for basic needs.