The Overall Health, Vitality, and Success of Our Community: Jobs & Transportation
Date(s) - March 30, 2023
8:30 am - 10:00 am
The Sheldon Ballroom
3648 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108
A Community Needs Assessment conducted and released by United Way of Greater St. Louis in early 2020 revealed three primary challenges ranked among the highest priorities for each of the 16 counties in our region: affordable housing, jobs and transportation, and behavioral health. This year, FOCUS St. Louis and the United Way of Greater St. Louis are teaming up for an in-depth exploration of these issues, with the help of regional leaders and policy experts — and we want you to be part of the discussion.
Join us for the final session in our series addressing The Overall Health, Vitality, and Success of Our Community.
The Challenge: Jobs & Transportation
Unemployment and under-employment are some of the primary drivers impacting struggling families today and important indicators of the economic environment. Lack of access to transportation options for employment purposes adds another massive roadblock to economic mobility, adversely affecting employment and income, limiting access to employment-related health and other resources, and reducing purchasing power and economic output, not to mention squashing the dreams of those trying to escape poverty.
Creation of transportation accessible and productive employment opportunities in our region will be essential to reducing poverty and increasing economic and social development for our broader community, especially those suffering from generations of disinvestment and neglect. This forum will connect workforce leaders with transportation leadership to explore how these deeply connected issues are being addressed in the region today, and how we are planning for the future.
- Kimberly Cella, Executive Director, Citizens for Modern Transit
- Jessica Gershman, Assistant Executive Director, Planning and System Development, Metro Transit
- Sal Martinez, Chief Executive Officer, Employment Connection
- Fredrecka McGlown, Executive Director, St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE)
This event is open to all and free to attend, but registration is required.
About Our Panelists
Kimberly Cella is at the helm of the nationally recognized non-profit, transit advocacy organization – Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT). Cella’s vision, enthusiasm, tenacity and leadership has been credited with moving transit forward over her 27-year tenure with CMT. Some of her key accomplishments include helping secure a federal grant to conduct the Central Corridor Feasibility Study, which laid the groundwork for the development of the Cortex MetroLink Station; helping leadership in the bi-state region come together to address safety and security issues on MetroLink and becoming a key member of the Transit Advisory Working Group, ensuring safety remains a top priority; and spearheading the first-ever Economic Impact of Public Transit Services in the State of Missouri to quantify the impact transit has on the vitality of communities.
Cella has served as executive director of the Missouri Public Transit Association since 2016. She has been recognized by the Federal Transit Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. She was appointed to the St. Louis County Public Transportation Commission in 2012, serves on the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council Air Quality Committee, previously served as Chair of the St. Louis County Public Transportation Commission, and is involved with numerous other boards and committees.
Jessica Gershman is the Assistant Executive Director of Planning and System Development at Metro Transit in St. Louis. She leads the Planning Division, which is responsible for service planning and scheduling, research, long-range and innovative planning, and customer service. As part of shaping the vision for the future of regional public transportation, Gershman led the Metro Reimagined project, which renovated bus service in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, Missouri in September 2019.
Having joined the agency in 2016, she previously served as Metro’s Director of Long-Range Planning. Prior to Metro Transit, Gershman worked for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), where she led comprehensive land use and economic development plans for local governments.
Sal Martinez has established himself as a force in the comprehensive revitalization of the St. Louis region. Martinez, who received his bachelor’s degree in Urban Education from Harris Stowe State College, was employed by the college as its Neighborhood Services Coordinator from 1996-1998. This experience had a profound effect on Martinez, as he developed a keen interest in assisting in the rebuilding of St. Louis’s many disinvested neighborhoods. He later accepted the position of executive director of the Grand Rock Community Economic Development Corporation. While serving the agency, Martinez was appointed to he board of commissioners of the St. Louis Housing Authority and was quickly elected as the agency’s youngest chairman ever. In 2002, Martinez accepted the position of executive director with the Vashon/Jeff-Vander-Lou Initiative. In 2004, became the inaugural executive director of Community Renewal and Development, Inc., a community development corporation dedicated to the revitalization of North St. Louis. In 2012, Martinez co-founded the Minority Contractor Initiative (MCI), which provided training, capacity building and technical assistance to minority (MBE) and women owned (WBE) and Section 3 construction firms in the St. Louis region. In 2017, Martinez was appointed the executive director of the North Newstead Association.
In 2018, Martinez was appointed the CEO of Employment Connection, which assists individuals with limited opportunities to self-sufficiency. The agency currently serves over 2,000 clients on an annual basis, including ex-offenders, veterans and the homeless. He serves on the board of directors of North Newstead Association and the St. Louis Housing Authority board. He also serves on the boards of several civic organizations including; Community Builder’s Network, Central Patrol Business/Police Association and the Civil Rights Enforcement Agency.
Fredrecka McGlown serves as Executive Director of the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE). She brings more than 10 years of experience in creating, managing, executing, and supporting programs that positively impact the lives of youth through education, employment, and training in an effort to eradicate barriers and behaviors that temporarily inhibit their success.
A St. Louis Business Journal 30 Under 30 Award recipient, McGlown has received The Legacy Award from the National Council of Negro Women Gateway Metropolitan St. Louis Chapter, The Young Women on the Move in the City of St. Louis Award from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Outstanding Service Award to the St. Louis Community from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. McGlown is a graduate of the University of Missouri-St. Louis and received a Master’s degree from the institution. She is a proud native of East St. Louis, Illinois.