Ridesharing in Pittsburgh

Uber’s helping its ride share drivers pay for classes, books at CCAC

The pilot program will help 100 drivers over two semesters.

Uber2
Jasmine Goldband / The Incline
MJ Slaby

Updated, 6:16 a.m.

Attention: Uber drivers who want to go to college. The ride share company is offering to help pay for tuition and books.

Thanks to a new pilot program with Community College of Allegheny County, Uber will give $500 each to 100 drivers over the spring and summer 2018 semesters, per a news release. Drivers can use that money for tuition, fees or books for classes both online and on campus.

The $50,000 investment from Uber is the result of a meeting between company leaders and Mayor Bill Peduto in July. At that meeting, Peduto discussed “partnering with community colleges to provide career development classes for drivers” with Shari Shapiro, Uber’s head of public affairs for Pennsylvania and Delaware, and Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, per city spokesman Tim McNulty.

Uber will notify eligible drivers starting this week, and drivers can then apply for 50 slots in the spring semester and 50 slots in the summer. Drivers don’t have to be currently enrolled at CCAC. To qualify, drivers need:

  • An active account for at least six months
  • At least 300 trips taken
  • At least one trip in the last 30 days

“This is exactly the kind of workforce development model I’ve long championed for drivers, and I hope others follow Uber’s lead with this important pilot program,” Peduto said in the release.

The mayor has previously been vocal about his disappointments with Uber, but told The Incline in September that he’s optimistic and thinks Uber is moving in a positive direction. Peduto has continued to call for greater social responsibility from all companies doing self-driving car testing in Pittsburgh.

In November, Uber also renewed a partnership with the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh to fund its transportation budget of $10,000 for a second year.

At the July meeting where the Uber and CCAC partnership was discussed, McNulty said Peduto and Uber leaders also talked about adding electric cars to the Uber fleet and of adding cars that are accessible for people with disabilities. Uber confirmed then that sustainability and accessibility were also discussed.

A previous version of this article misstated the amount of Uber’s investment.