ELYRIA — Since its inception in September, more than 300 Elyrians have inquired about participating in the city’s pilot Elyria Works Now! program, Mayor Holly Brinda said Thursday.
After what she said was “a late start” getting the program going, officials realized they would need at least six months worth of work to determine if the program was beneficial, she said.
It recently was decided to continue the pilot program through February. Brinda told City Council this week that is due to some companies slowing down both production and hiring over the holidays, and there needed to be more time and information gathered.
The aim is to combat Elyria’s 22.2 percent poverty rate through hiring workers at a living wage with good benefits and the opportunity for promotion at the manufacturing companies involved. Lacking grant funding it anticipated would help cover the costs, the city used $125,000 in Issue 6 funds to help kick-start the program.
To begin, four Elyria companies — Duraline, Elyria Foundry, Multilink and United Initiators — agreed to hire participants. Interested Elyria residents were encouraged to register, take part in a short orientation and training session and were assigned a career coach and given an interview.
Brinda said Thursday she is meeting next week with stakeholders and subcontractors in the program, and will have more solid numbers on participation and hiring “by the end of next week” as orientation and training classes have not yet finished.
“The purpose of the pilot is to test and see what works and what needs to be adjusted, so it would be premature to make any statements until I see the numbers myself,” she said.
Of the 300 people who have inquired about the program, Brinda said not all were expected to register or go through the program.
“We won’t know until after we know how many people actually complete the program,” she said. “We’ve had some folks who went out and gathered a lot of information from the website and watched educational videos from the companies involved. Some went through the program, and some are pending through the program.”