The Paradox Prize Awards MetroHealth Grant to Test Commuting Program

by | Nov 11, 2020

Pilot project seeks to incentivize public transit use, improve recruitment and retention, and influence social determinants of health among employees

CLEVELAND—November 11, 2020—The Paradox Prize has awarded the MetroHealth System a $98,000 grant to launch and test a commuting program aimed at demonstrating the value of including public transportation subsidies as part of its employee benefits.

Through the pilot project, MetroHealth will provide a transit pass subsidy to incentivize transit use among employees who work at its Main and Old Brooklyn campuses, and who may experience obstacles to reliable transportation. The subsidy will be offered alongside other amenities, including paid, on-site parking and secure, covered bike racks, as well as programming to help employees make smart commute choices.

MetroHealth will test whether a transit subsidy and the development of accompanying commuter programs would shift users from driving alone to using transit, and how this potential behavior change might influence employee recruitment and retention. “We are excited to test the first phases in a developing long-term healthy transportation plan that will build upon community partnerships with the Metro West Community Development Organization, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and others who are cooperatively strengthening the health and vitality of the Clark-Fulton and surrounding neighborhoods,” said MetroHealth’s Director of Sustainability Sarah O’Keeffe, who will serve as project lead for the MetroHealth program.

“In order to provide the care the community needs, our employees have to have safe and reliable transportation to work,” said Alan Nevel, senior vice president and chief diversity and human resources officer at MetroHealth. “Our hope is to get a true picture of where our employees are as we work to offer increasing options of transportation. This pilot is another step in building healthier lives for our employees by addressing social determinants of health.”

MetroHealth is the ninth winner to receive funding through The Paradox Prize, a public competition launched in June 2019 to source and test mobility solutions to help Northeast Ohioans stranded economically by their geography connect to jobs and improve the ability of area businesses to attract talent. Over the course of three rounds of public competition, more than $700,000 has been awarded to nine pilots spread across seven counties. MetroHealth was among the finalists from Round 3 but put its pilot plans on hold to address COVID-19. After beginning recruitment in October, MetroHealth is launching the pilot this month.

“The purpose of The Paradox Prize is to spur mobility innovation and raise the profile of job access as a key ingredient in an economy that works for all people,” said Dominic Mathew, urban and regional planner for mobility innovations at the Fund for Our Economic Future, a sponsor of The Paradox Prize. “The pandemic has further laid bare the challenges individuals face in getting to work, particularly our essential workers like those at MetroHealth who can’t work from home. We are hopeful the lessons we learn through these pilots will lead to lasting solutions for our region.”

For more about The Paradox Prize and the pilot winners, go to www.paradoxprize.com.

About The Paradox Prize

The mission of The Paradox Prize is to incentivize and inspire breakthroughs that transform lives and Northeast Ohio’s economy. Supported by the Fund for Our Economic Future, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, Greater Cleveland Partnership, The Lozick Family Foundation, Cuyahoga County, the Cleveland Foundation, and DriveOhio, The Paradox Prize is awarding up to $1 million over three years to support mobility pilots that can improve connections of people to jobs.