Laketran Wins $25,000 Paradox Prize Grand Prize

Laketran’s new transit benefit program – Transit GO – earns top achievement in Fund for Our Economic Future’s The Paradox Prize competition

PAINESVILLE, OH—The Fund for Our Economic Future announced Laketran as the Grand Prize winner of The Paradox Prize, a $1 million competition launched in 2019 that supported eight transportation pilots, which collectively helped connect more than 1,300 people to jobs and more than 400 businesses to needed talent.

Laketran, the public transit agency serving Lake County, received the $25,000 Grand Prize award at a special event on June 16 at the Agora Theatre in Cleveland designed to celebrate the achievements of the eight pilots and build on what they started.

Laketran used its initial $75,000 award from The Paradox Prize to develop Transit GO, a transit benefit program for Lake County employers to provide free transportation to employees. More than 400 employees at more than 175 employers have taken advantage of the program. Those enrolled are saving around $70 a month in transportation costs, a significant cost savings considering the average wage of those in the program is $12 an hour. With additional support from an Ohio Department of Transportation grant and the grand prize money, Laketran has made Transit GO a permanent offering. Additionally, data gleaned through the program indicated that its local routes do not start early enough to accommodate workers with 6 a.m. start times, so Laketran is discussing a service expansion to start operating earlier.

“As employers we offer many benefits to support our employees and transportation options should be part of that benefits package,” expressed Laketran CEO Ben Capelle. “Our Transit GO program has enabled us to work more closely with employers, to better understand the transportation needs of their employees. Through this program we’ve found a way to support employers and thereby empower them to better support their employees.”

Laketran collaborated with Lake Development Authority, Alliance for Working Together and Lake County Board of Commissioners to help reach local employers.

“I’d like to commend the team from Laketran, as well as, Joel DiMare from our office and Patrick Mohorcic from the Lake Development Authority for their work on this project. This is just another example of how creative solutions can emerge when Lake County agencies collaborate,” stated Commissioner Hamercheck. “It’s a win-win for our workforce and Lake County businesses.”

With the current labor shortage, communities are looking to eliminate as many barriers to employment as possible and the Transit GO program aims to eliminate the transportation barrier for potential and current employees.

“It is harder and harder to access a qualified workforce, especially for the manufacturing industry. Additional benefits help employers to recruit and retain employees, and programs like this one are exactly what will help bring more top-level employees to Lake County to support our businesses,” shared Commissioner John Plecnik.