Creating A Successful Bridge Program: A "How To" Guide

Creating A Successful Bridge Program: A "How To" Guide

Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, 2012

Toolkit Purpose 

This guide was prepared as part of the Illinois Shifting Gears Initiative to help organizations understand and anticipate essential steps for developing a bridge program. These steps are based on three core elements:
- Contextualized instruction that integrates basic reading, math, and language skills and industry/
occupation knowledge.
- Career development that includes career exploration, career planning within a career area, and understanding the world of work (specific elements depend upon the level of the bridge program and on whether participants are already incumbent workers in the specific field).
- Transition services that provide students with the information and assistance they need to successfully navigate the process of moving from adult education or remedial coursework to credit or occupational programs. Services may include (as needed and available) academic advising, tutoring, study skills, coaching, and referrals to individual support services, e.g., transportation and childcare.

The Joyce Foundation, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the Illinois Community College Board
Intended Audience 
Program directors, deans, curriculum developers, instructors, career development staff, and support services staff in adult education, career and technical education, developmental education, occupational training, employment, and social services who may be based at community colleges, community-based organizations, workforce agencies, social service organizations, or employer associations; individual employers; public and private funders; four-year colleges; advocacy organizations; and elected officials
Career Pathways Target Population 
Community college students, adults with limited academic or limited English skills
Based On 
Early lessons of bridge programs in Illinois, including the Career and Technical Education Reading-Study Skills for Automotive Technology/Mechanic and John Deere Tech at Lake Land College; Carreras en Salud at Instituto del Progreso Latino; and SER Healthcare Careers Bridge Program at Central States SER.
Summary of Toolkit Approach 

The guide is organized in ten chapters that cover the key steps in developing a bridge program. Each chapter reviews the importance of the step, critical "how to's," and working practices from Illinois programs that illustrate how the steps have been organized and implemented in the field. The guide includes 10 worksheets allowing readers to organize their thoughts as they work through the chapters. In addition, the chapters provide references to more detailed guides, publications, and toolkits on particular topics.

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