WHAT: "Job Access and Reverse Commuting in California," a two-day invitational conference highlighting the challenges welfare recipients and low-income residents face in getting to job sites. The conference is organized by the University of California, Berkeley's Institute of Transportation Studies and funded by Caltrans.
WHERE: Oakland Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway St., Oakland.
WHO: More than 50 speakers will participate in the conference, including Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown; Assemblywoman Dion Aroner; Rita Saenz, director of the California Department of Social Services; and Michael Bernick, director of the California Employment Development Department. UC researchers presenting at the conference include Robert Cervero, professor of city and regional planning at UC Berkeley; John Quigley, professor of economics at UC Berkeley; and Evelyn Blumenberg, assistant professor of public policy at UCLA. A detailed list of speakers and presentation topics can be found at http://www.its.berkeley.edu/techtransfer/events/jarc.
BACKGROUND: The conference brings together UC researchers, local and state officials, social service workers, transportation professionals and welfare recipients to address the needs surrounding transportation and job access in California. The goal is to form a state-wide advisory committee to guide future policy in this area.
Participants of the conference will discuss how the lack of adequate transportation options, especially for those who work late-hour shifts and on weekends, have kept many jobs out of reach for those who need them most. For example, many single mothers in the state's welfare-to-work program do not own cars and are stressed by the demands of child-care needs as well as limited public transit routes.
The conference will include case studies of transportation programs around the state - some more successful than others - that connect low-income residents to jobs. Welfare recipients will also be on hand to discuss their personal experiences with California's welfare-to-work program.