PASSAIC COUNTY, N.J. -- Uber is forming a partnership with the New Jersey NAACP that will, it promised Monday, help recruit thousands of new drivers from low-income communities in Passaic County and elsewhere in the state.
The transportation company, which started in San Francisco and which now operates out of 58 countries, allows customers to hail rides -- bypassing traditional taxi services -- by using a smartphone app.
Launched in New Jersey in 2013, Uber said it has connected local residents with more than 9.5 million trips across the Garden State.
Uber currently has a network of more than 13,000 "driver partners" in New Jersey. It is pledging to bring on 3,000 more from low-income communities by the end of this June.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, the former mayor of Newark, reacted to the news by calling the creation of jobs “critical” to both supporting families in need and to strengthening the region’s economy.
NJSC NAACP President Richard Smith said his organization “shares a similar commitment to breaking boundaries that level the playing field, providing access to essential services.”
“Economic opportunity stands as a remedy for reducing crime, empowering individuals and improving communities,” Smith said.
Scot X. Esdaile, a member of the NAACP’s national board, also commented on the plan, calling it “exactly the type of economic development” struggling communities need.
Other counties that Uber and the NAACP are targeting are: Camden, Cumberland, Salem, Cape May, Atlantic, Ocean, Union, Hudson, Essex, and Warren.
Said Cumberland County Freeholder Douglas Long: “Expanding economic opportunity and giving people more work options should be a top priority for everyone in our state.”
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