In the summer of 2000, Bob Embry, the President of the Abell Foundation, asked two consultants to evaluate the performance Career Caravan, a job-to-work transportation program that his foundation was helping to fund. Career Caravan took low-income residents of West Baltimore to jobs in suburban Howard County, Maryland. The idea was that good jobs were more plentiful in the suburbs than in the central city, but that Baltimores public transit system did not serve dispersed suburban employment centers well and many inner city residents did not have drivers licenses or own cars. But Embry was concerned that reverse commute programs like Career Caravan were expensive and did not do away with the need for costly job training to make the clients, many of whom had never been employed before, job ready.
The case is designed for a graduate course in poverty policy or transportation to support a discussion of how much the isolation of inner city poor from suburban jobs contributes to urban unemployment and of the pros and cons of alternative methods for linking inner city residents with suburban jobs.