Wherever we go these days, folks get more animated about the importance and potential of transportation than anything else. The din of enthusiasm was palpable, therefore, when we entered a room filled with people passionate about transportation at the annual COTA Luncheon.
Our membership was well represented, with CEOs from organizations as diverse as Action for Children, Central Community House, Directions for Youth & Families, Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services, Habitat for Humanity Mid-Ohio, Godman Guild, and Star House all joining us at our table. And on stage, speaking on a panel alongside the Columbus Partnership and the Franklin County Commissioners was Christie Angel, CEO of YWCA Columbus.
And why do our agencies care so much about the future of COTA in our community? Our agencies spend millions of dollars, every year, moving their clients from A to B. The chance to make our community more accessible for all means that the access to services, and workforce programs, and jobs, and child care all improves, too. This means fewer people miss medical appointments, and fewer alternative students miss classes, and fewer people are late to work, and more toddlers are receiving high-quality care. The ramifications and ripple effects of an improved transportation system are enormous, benefiting all of us.
COTA, under the thoughtful leadership of its CEO Joanna Pinkerton, understands this. Their recently launched strategic plan underscores the point, as the agency’s new adage is ” “Moving Every Life Forward.” I encourage you all to read it for its deliberate and deeply appreciated appreciation for the critical role it plays in the lives of so many Central Ohioans, and of so many members of the Human Service Chamber.
Indeed, one of its new initiatives is to “ensure transportation planning supports access to jobs, healthcare, and education for disadvantaged communities.”
At the Chamber, we applaud this new strategic plan, and the work yet to come between COTA and our community of social and human services organizations. While our agencies move lives forward more figuratively, we all adhere to the same goal of advancing opportunity for all in the Columbus Region.