Bridges to Career Opportunities

This section provides information on Bridges to Career Opportunities and other contextualized bridge programs that may be helpful to practitioners as they approach the task of starting and building their BCO program. New to the FOC network? Click here for key steps to getting started



Beyond the GED: Promising Models for Moving High School Dropouts to College 


This 2014 literature review by MRDC identifies the most promising approaches for increasing dropouts’ rate of attaining a GED certificate or other high school credential and successfully transitioning to college, including programs that contextualize basic skills and GED instruction within specific career fields. PDF

Career Pathways as a Framework for Program Design & Evaluation 


A paper by Abt Assoc. with a framework for evaluating career pathways programs and discussion of some of the considerations in designing evaluations that use random assignment methods to measure these programs’ impacts. PDF

Evaluation of LISC's Occupational Skills Initiative (OSI) Pilot


This paper by Wilder Research evaluates the implementation of the OSI model, through the conducted in-depth interviews with LISC program officers, FOC site staff, and program participants at participating sites. The findings from this research may be used to inform the design and implementation of bridge and career pathways programming in the field. PDF



This US DOE brief describes recent approaches and explores promising practices, with a focus on programs bridging adult education and community college occupational programs. PDF

A case study of the LISC Houston and Wesley Community Center’s pilot bridges program that provided technical training and access to employment services to help clients become Certified Nursing Assistants. PDF


Online Learning Resources:

 LISC FOCs have access to the Accenture Learning Exchange (free of cost), which offers bridge co-designed curricula in IT Customer Support and Health Technology and Administration as well as general employment workshops. All courses are available online and some can even be accessed by mobile phone! 

Watch these videos to learn more information:


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The Undereducated American 


This Georgetown University paper on the impact of number of Americans with post-secondary education on economic growth discusses trends in U.S. educational attainment, the need for more college educated workers, the impact of access to college on income inequality, and more. PDF

Bridge and Vocational Services within Financial Opportunity Centers: Evidence from Program Data


A LISC analysis of 14 Financial Opportunity Centers that provide contextualized bridge programs finds that participants who completed these programs were placed in employment more quickly than a control group, had higher initial wages, and were more likely to retain a job for six months. PDF



Bridges to Career Opportunities Flow Charts


Indianapolis LISC shares two one-page flow charts from local Financial Opportunity Centers: The Edna Martin Christian Center BCO Integrated Services Map and the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center Academic Pathways map.

The guide includes an overview of what makes BCO special, content for press releases, grant applications, and other communications, and guidelines for use of logos and other materials. PDF
Contextualization of Bridges/Adult Basic Ed

Core to the Bridges to Career Opportunities model, contextualization is not easy to achieve. For understanding of contextualization, Jobs For the Future published Breaking Through: Contextualization Toolkit. Other resources include actual curricula.  

Women Employed - General resources on providing Bridge. Free sign up for lesson plans in Healthcare, Manufacturing, Early Childhood Development, Hospitality/Culinary, Information IT and Transportation, Distribution & Logistics.

Illinois Community College Board - Curricula for Healthcare, Manufacturing and Transportation, Distribution & Logistics.