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Source: The Washington Post / Getty

Councilman Boykins, Change Happens!, the NAACP Houston and Uber announced a new initiative to recruit 5,000 drivers in Houston within the next 12 months.

Working with local organizations, Uber will host a series of driver recruitment events to educate people about how to become a driver on the Uber platform and connect them to the opportunity.

Since launching in February 2014, Uber has connected Houstonians to more than 3.5 million rides. A recent report shows that the number of rides beginning in underserved neighborhoods increased significantly in the first half of 2015, with the average wait time in areas such as the Third Ward under 7 minutes.

“As demand for rides continues to rise, there is also a growing need for drivers to meet that demand. And who better to benefit from these economic opportunities than people who live in the neighborhoods where these rides are needed,” said Sarfraz Maredia, Uber Houston General Manager. “As we look towards the next year, we are excited to continue investing in the economic development of this great city.”

This initiative will connect people to the flexible earnings opportunity that Uber offers driver-partners, where they can be their own boss and choose their own hours.

“As an organization that fights to eliminate challenges and barriers to economic independence, we understand first-hand how economic opportunity can change lives and communities,” said Rev. Leslie Smith, CEO & Founder of Change Happens!. “Uber is helping to knock those barriers down and improving transportation access. In particular, Uber has played a major role in increasing mobility in the 3rd Ward Area and throughout the city. We are excited about the meaningful economic opportunities that will be created from this partnership as it fits right into Change Happens! mission of empowering families to help themselves.”

President of NAACP Houston, Dr. James Douglas, said, “We are here today in strong support of a company that is breaking economic barriers by increasing access to transportation in neighborhoods across the city. Uber is enabling more than a convenient way to move around the city; they’re also opening the door to greater economic opportunity. I am excited to be here today and to be a part of their effort to empower 5,000 Houstonians.”