COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio Department of Development's Office of Community Services and the state's Finance Fund are introducing the "Cars for Jobs and Diplomas" program.

This new initiative is an effort to provide affordable used car financing and consumer assistance to approximately 60 low-income participants statewide. The Ohio Community Action Network will administer the program.

"Inadequate transportation is a major obstacle to finding and keeping a good job," said Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher, who also serves as Director of the Ohio Department of Development. "We believe that the Cars for Jobs and Diplomas program will serve as a helping hand in giving Ohioans the opportunity to save for a car, access quality education, and travel to and from work.

The purpose of the Cars for Jobs and Diplomas Program is to provide qualifying participants an opportunity to purchase a vehicle enabling individuals to obtain or retain employment and/or education. The program serves as a financing component of local case management programs offered by agencies designated by the Ohio Department of Development's Community Development Division, Office of Community Services.

The structure of this program will operate on a matching rate of 2:1. This means for every dollar saved in the participant's qualified savings account, it will be matched with two dollars into a reserve account. Eligibility for this program will be determined by the local case management agency.

"We were honored that the Ohio Department of Development reached out to us once again to assist in the development and administration of the Cars for Jobs and Diplomas program," said James R. Klein, CEO of Finance Fund. "This program will help families in distress take advantage of opportunities that will help move their lives forward."