Uber picks Chicago to start building one million new jobs for women

by Sam Dewey
June 12, 2015

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By the end of the year, Uber plans to recruit 5,000 women in Chicago to partner with their platform as drivers. By 2020, they want that number to skyrocket — all the way to one million new driver jobs for women, globally.

As part of a new partnership with YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, Uber has introduced the Drive to Thrive program, an initiative aimed at creating economic opportunities for women. Uber and YWCA have launched the program in Chicago as an international pilot, with hopes that it will expand to other cities across the globe in coming years.

“We found that the opportunity to bring Uber together with one of the nation’s strongest social service organizations would create incredible economic opportunity and change lives here in Chicago,” said Uber’s Midwest Communications Lead, Brooke Anderson.

As part of the program, YWCA and Uber will host recruitment and educational events across Chicago to encourage women to partner with the Uber platform as drivers. Women enrolled in economic empowerment services at YWCA Metropolitan Chicago will also be able to use a number of free rides to and from job interviews and other YWCA job services, courtesy of Uber, in order to reduce barriers to employment and increase accessibility to reliable transportation.

“On average, if our women driving on the platform earn $500 a month--which I’m told is relatively easy to do--that’s over $30 million that’s going to go into the pockets of the women in Chicago and contribute to the economy,” said Dorri McWhorter, CEO, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. “That’s huge. And that’s just using $500 to keep the math simple. The opportunity is even greater than that.”

The partnership also supports YWCA’s efforts to empower women with resources to “survive and thrive” in a 21st century economy. The 139-year-old organization is committed to moving forward with strategic and innovative partnerships, like its most recent with Uber, in order to ensure that Chicago is the best marketplace in the world for women.

Meanwhile, partnering with Uber as a driver offers working Chicago women flexibility, equitable earning, and a sense of safety.

“To me, this is just such a great opportunity to support our women and keep them moving. No pun intended,” McWhorter joked.

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