The North Shore Career Center (NoSCC) is a One-Stop Career Center serving nineteen communities in and around Gloucester, Lynn, and Salem, Massachusetts. For over ten years, NoSCC has undertaken initiatives to help North Shore residents overcome transportation barriers that prevent them from getting or keeping jobs. NoSCC employs two Mobility Managers, who help jobseekers identify transportation options to employment opportunities. During the intake process, jobseekers are asked whether transportation is a challenge for them. If so, they are immediately referred to the Mobility Managers. By informing jobseekers of transportation services they may not have known existed, Mobility Managers help people expand their employment options.
However, simply sharing information about services does not help when jobs are only accessible by car. NoSCC tracked the requests they were unable to address and noticed that a recurring problem area was the corridor between Route 1 and Route 114, where many employers were located, but no public transportation was available. To address this need, NSCC partnered with Greater Lynn Senior Services (GLSS) and applied for grants to start a transportation service in that area. In 2010, NSCC and GLSS received federal Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) and New Freedom funding for Employment Xpress.
Employment Xpress service is available to individuals who are low-income or who have a disability. Rides cost $2 for a one-way trip. The service can pick up riders anywhere in Beverly, Danvers, Lynn, Peabody, and Salem, and drop them off at any employment location in those five communities, as long as there is no alternate transportation option for their commute. Residents of other cities and towns may use the service as long as they use other forms of transportation to get to Beverly, Danvers, Lynn, Peabody, or Salem. For example, one rider took the commuter rail from Gloucester to Salem and then transferred to Employment Xpress to finish his commute.
Employment Xpress runs from 6:30 am to 11:30 pm seven days a week, 365 days per year. The extended hours mean that workers in retail and healthcare can work any and all shifts for which they are scheduled, which has enabled riders to keep their jobs and to increase their earnings by picking up extra shifts. In fact, some riders have been able to earn enough to purchase or repair their own vehicles and no longer need to ride Employment Xpress. One rider, Daniela, was a single mother with a young son. Before she came to NoSCC, she was in danger of losing her job because she did not have reliable transportation and had trouble with night and weekend shifts. Employment Xpress enabled her to keep her job and take on more shifts, and as a result, she received a promotion.
NoSCC is committed to helping North Shore residents secure and maintain employment – and recognizes that reliable, affordable transportation is a critical to successful employment outcomes.