Update! The Adult Career Pathways online courses are now available on LINCS!

LINCS is adding the opportunity for professional development for its members in the form of a series of optional online courses developed by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education’s initiative Adult Career Pathways. These online courses are self-paced, freely available, and accessible 24 hours a day through the LINCS Learning Portal. The courses will enable users to work at their own pace, at a time that is most convenient to them.

 

Online Course: Developing Effective Bridge Programs

Are you a teacher beginning to develop a bridge program for your adult education learners? Developing Effective Bridge Programs can help you develop and implement effective Adult Career Pathways bridge programs designed to help your adult learners master the basic skills they need to advance to the next level of education, training, or entry-level employment in career fields that are in local or regional demand. The course is self-paced and features three modules: (1) Understanding Bridge Programs; (2) Laying the Foundation; and (3) Developing the Curriculum. The modules link to this discussion thread (Title: Online Course: Developing Effective Bridge Programs) within the LINCS Community Career Pathways group to provide opportunities for you to discuss how to apply the course information in your teaching with your colleagues from around the country.

 

Use this discussion thread to post your responses to questions below from the online course, Developing Effective Bridge Programs. Please share your comments to any of the following questions, or post a general comment or feedback on the course.

 

  1. Introduce Yourself.
  2. What are the benefits of Western Technical College’s CNC Skills Institute’s approach to addressing the needs of lower-skilled adults who could not access the more traditional certificate programs in CNC offered at Western Technical College? Is there a target population in your community that has been historically underserved and for whom this model might be well suited?
  3. In watching the Bio-Link video, Bridge to Biotech student Jeanette Wright, what characteristics about herself does Jeanette mention that are similar to the adult learners you serve? What has motivated her to persist in the biotech program? What supports does she mention that you could incorporate in your local program?
  4. For a bridge program at your institution, what key elements, if any, would you need to add, omit, or adapt based on your local situation?
  5. After reading the article, “Group Work in the Classroom: Types of Groups”, what are your reflections on your experiences with those techniques as a learner and as an instructor. Why do you think that technique did or did not work? What would you change about the experience?

This online course was developed under the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education’s Designing Instruction for Career Pathways initiative under Contract No. ED-CFO-10-A-0072/0001, which developed and delivered trainings and online courses to adult education providers in order to increase the quality and quantity of adult career pathways programs.

 

The new LINCS Learning Portal offers adult educators free online professional development courses from a variety of OVAE initiatives. Join today at: https://courses.lincs.ed.gov.

Comments (37)

David Kester's picture

My name is David Kester. I work in the Office of Transitional Programs at New River COmmunity College. I am working on developing an online readiness and success class for our Middle College.  I have not been able to access the class yet. Does it open the 26th - or am I missing something? I am looking forward to the class!  

David 

I-Fang Cheng's picture

Hi David - We are happy that you are interested in the online course. We are currently working on making all the Designing Instruction for Career Pathways courses available on the LINCS Learning Portal and will let the entire LINCS Community know when the courses officially launch. Thank you!

rdeller's picture

Hi, All.  My name is Rebecca Eller.  I'm working as a Transition Specialist & Instructor at a small non-profit in Georgia.  We're an adult education organization offering class to help students improve reading, writing and math skills and to prepare for the GED exam.  We are currently working to develop a comprehensive transitions program that will support students along the pathways to emploment, career advancement and postsecondary education.  I look forward to participating in the Developing Effective Bridge Programs course.                                                                                      

Jeff Seth's picture

Hello everyone! My name is Jeff Seth and I am the Supervisor for ABLE and other programs for the Ashtabula County Technical and Career Center in Jefferson, Ohio. We have a very long-running successful bridge program but I am always interested in learning about what is working for others that could improve or expand our programs.

Susy Oldham's picture

Hello to all. My name is Susy Oldham. I am the ABLE Coordinator for Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools in Groveport, Ohio. My staff and I are working toward bridging our GED and ESOL programs with our career center's full time programming. I'm looking forward to any direction I can receive through this course.

Michelle Carson's picture

Hi Susy,

What programming does your Career Center offer?  I would be interested in learning more about it as I am working with programs on integrating support services and other employment related goals.

 

kspearman's picture

Hi,

My name is Kevin and I am currently an adult basic education teacher at a small, but rapidly growing, non-profit organization. As part of a state grant, we are required to develop an adult career pathways or transition program. This is a relatively new requirement for ABE/GED programs and I am interested in learning all I can to help our students move in that direction. I am not sure specifically what our bridge program will look like, but I figure it should have some of the following components:

  • An interest survey or ability profile
  • Counseling component
  • Assessment
  • DOL or business partnerships
  • Workforce education coupled with ABE/GED
  • Program support

Those of just a few things I am hoping to learn while researching this field and taking this online course.

 

kspearman's picture

  1. This was an example of a Higher-Level Bridge Program. It includes the target audience, the career and educational objectives, the duration for both, the features of what a bridge program looks like career-wise and educationally, and examples of where higher-level bridge programs are operating locally.
  2. Every element included on this form seems necessary; however, if this were an internal form, I might include (potential or actual) partners that will help the student implement the learning objectives. Sometimes there are so many “moving parts” that it is hard to remember all of them. If this form is a road map for the student, it is a helpful reminder who the points-of-contact are for each element. If this is a tracking form for a transitions specialist, it might help to know immediately who was involved with my student.
Monica McGauley's picture

Hello everyone.  My name is Monica McGauley, and I am a Basic Education Instructor at Moraine Park Technical College - Beaver Dam campus.  We have several bridge at our college, and we have most recently added welding.

Monica McGauley's picture

WTCs approach to addressing the needs of lower skilled adults is that that it allows those adults to work toward different levels of CNC skills and receive a certificate that reflects that level that helps make them employable at that level.  As an adult student's interest and opportunity increases, they can build on each of those certificates and / or transfer those courses to an actual diploma program.  The local employers benefit by having access to a group that normally would not have been employable.

Our community has a large population of Hispanic people.   Many of them do not speak English well, so it has been difficult for them to secure jobs.  We also have significant numbers of unemployed workers who were released from their jobs several years ago when the economy was not doing well.  Most of them did not have their GED which was used by many employers when lay off decisions were made.

Monica McGauley's picture

Jeannette states that she is diverse.  We also have diverse students who come from different countries, have different languages, have different customs, and have different ages and ethnic backgrounds.  I believe Jeannette enjoyed building math and science skills in an atmosphere that was less intimidating than applying for an associate degree program right away.  She was able to build both confidence and skills which sparked her interest in continuing beyond her certificate and internship.  The supports she used were most likely ABE for math and science as well as the internship offered by employers/partners.

Monica McGauley's picture

The current program we have in welding includes 

1.  Combination ABE and Tech program content - An ABE math instructor is paired with a Program instructor to make sure that students are successful at the math necessary for the welding program.

2.  Contextualized Basic Skills and English Language Content - This is an area that we are currently working to improve.  We have just created two full-time positions that will spend one semester creating curriculum so that this key element is covered.

3.  New and modified curriculum - As stated in number two, a new curriculum is being created with contextualized teaching in mind.

4.  Class Delivery - We currently have cohort groups in all areas of ABE, ELL, and GED programs.  There is a goal of continuing his trend with Bridge programs.

5.  Support Services - Currently, our students have many support services in place; however, each campus will be adding a Transition Specialist to follow each one of the students from start to finish.  This position is being funded in part by Workforce Development.

6.  Connections to local employers and community - Internships, job shadows, etc. are in place, but the Transition Specialist will be working to create more opportunities, also.

Monica McGauley's picture

I will typically use a jigsaw for teaching Civics which is part of our HSED program (High School Equivalency Diploma).  I will have students choose a number of different topics throughout the course.  For example, when discussing the Legislative branch, students choose topic on which they would like to become "experts" within the branch (ie.  House, Senate, Voting, etc.) and present it to the class.  When discussing the introduction and approval of a bill, I will ask students to draw diagrams and each student adds his/her piece of knowledge to that diagram.

This technique works well for this type of material.  I would like to use this type of group work in some of our bridge programs as well.  Different students will bring different strengths to the group which will allow each of them to help each other.  

Sharon Johnston's picture

Hello- I am a senior associate with Kentucky Adult Education. My primary focus is on transitions and helping our students to prepare to obtain, and maintain positions with family sustaining wages. I look forward to learning more about bridge programs.

Michael Cruse's picture

Hi, Sharon -

Thanks for posting about your work in Kentucky with transitioning students to employment.  As the new moderator for Career Pathways, I'm hoping to learn more about our members, and their interests in the topic.  I'm working on planning several special events over the coming months, one of them focusing on Bridge programs.

If there are successful models being used in Kentucky that you think would make a good addition to our conversation, I'd appreciate hearing more about them.  Otherwise, if you have more specific questions on the topic, it would be great to hear that as well.

Thanks for your participation with LINCS, and I look forward to hearing more from you. You can always post to the group, or e-mail me directly at michaelcruse74@gmail.com

Best,

Mike

Ella Bogard's picture

Hi, I'm Ella Bogard, coordinator for Washington County Career Center's ABLE Program. We are in the process of setting up a Bridge program to assist students with transition to post secondary and help them find more success in our technical programs. We had a voluntary program this year and had few who took advantage of the program. Those who did use the program had great results.

Michael Cruse's picture

Hi, Ella -

Thanks for posting about your work in Washington County with transitioning students to technical programs.  As the new moderator for Career Pathways, I'm hoping to learn more about our members, and their interests in the topic.  I'm working on planning several special events over the coming months, one of them focusing on Bridge programs.

If there are successful models being used in Washington County, or elsewhere in Ohio, that you think would make a good addition to our conversation, I'd appreciate hearing more about them.  Otherwise, if you have more specific questions on the topic, it would be great to hear that as well.

Thanks for your participation with LINCS.  I look forward to hearing more from you. You can always post to the group, or e-mail me directly at michaelcruse74@gmail.com

Best,

Mike

Ella Bogard's picture

• What characteristics about herself does Jeanette mention that are similar to the adult learners you serve?Jeanette is a non-traditional student much like our students, she did not at first see what she was truly capable of and therefore set her goals low, but when she saw her potential, she rose to the occasion and went from no science or math background to proficiency in those areas.

• What has motivated her to persist in the biotech program?Jeanette was motivated to persist by her success in the Bridge to Biotech program, and her growing confidence in her ability to learn. Meeting goals along the way helped to keep her motivated.

• What supports does she mention that you could incorporate in your local program?The counseling and building of knowledge of where this education can take you can motivate students to move up and beyond initial goals set for their program of work.

Ella Bogard's picture

  1. The key elements included in this model are the target audience, the career and educational objectives, duration for both, the features of what a bridge program looks like career-wise and educationally, and examples of where higher-level bridge programs are operating locally.
  2. Each item in this model seems necessary for understanding the model, however, if this were for my program I would include potential or actual partners that are to help the student implement the learning and/or career objectives. That would allow this form to be a guide for the student, a reminder who the points-of-contact are for each step of their plan. This would also aide the instructor to know who was responsible for each element of the plan along the way.
Kathy's picture

Hi my name is Kathy and I am a Director at an Adult Education Learning Center based in Camp Verde and Cottonwood, AZ. We are working on Career and College Readiness and I have my staff taking this course. We are going to be working at our staff meeting this Friday about working with our local community and businesses. While we offer classes for students to get their GED or learn to speak English we haven't really reached out to the community. That will be approached this week.

 

 

 

 

 

rebker's picture

My name is Kerry Mowdy and I am a Business Software Instructor for the Virginia Department of Corrections, working at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women. We will soon be certified to provide College credits for our classes. We currently are in a partnership with Piedmont Community College to provide classes for women seeking their Associates degrees. We offer a variety of Instruction/programs to assist women as part of our reentry plans. Like CNC, we recognize the need to provide education'/training to "bridge" the gap as it were for employment of former felons. Currently we have apprenticeship programs in the Building trades and Cosmetology. Many of our students have a spotty employment history at best or have never held a traditional job.

rebker's picture

Like Jeanette, we have a diverse population with one common factor, they are incarcerated. Like most of the women who attend my class, I feel Jeanette may have had some self-confidence issues which caused her to seek the lower level certification at first. It sounds like after she found some success and her confidence increased, not only did she dare to pursue a more advanced path, but actively sought it out. Many times, CTE programs and other alternative type of programs bring about the first truly successful academic endeavor for individuals. This can and usually is a major self esteem boost and the "A-Ha" moment occurs, and they realize that they have the ability to succeed.

Kerry Mowdy

rebker's picture

This is Kerry Mowdy again, finally able to continue with this online training. Due to the prison setting, and the various missions of our education section as well as funding, Cooperative teaching is generally not an option. Therefore, when students are found to lacking in related skills such as mathematics and communication (both oral and written), the CTE instructor must address those needs. I try to incorporate this into the ongoing curriculum, however there are times when the subject matter has to be taught separately. As I teach basic computer skills and Microsoft Office as well as employability skills, I have to ensure that my students have a good understanding of the Order of Operations in mathematics prior to commencing the Excel module. Therefore, I have a self directed learning module to accomplish this as well as tutors that are able to sit with the individual and work with them on the concepts. Because many of my students have little experience with computers (unless you count cell phones), I have created an artificial web environment and all activities are carried out on the computer.The student is immersed into the system and begins working with various programs from day one. They experience first hand what it is like to actually utilize a computer to produce something both artistic and business related.  My class schedule is year round open entry/open exit, so my students are at different levels. By this, I mean that I have those who are just beginning the program, those who are finishing the program and the rest anywhere in between. By using experiential (total immersion) approach, I have had great success. 

sadkins2009's picture

Hello! I am Sandra Adkins, teaching adult education and SPOKES (job readiness skills) in central WV. I am interested in the course because of the new WIOA regulations and changing our program structure.

Vanessa Fauntleroy's picture

Hello everyone my name is Vanessa Fauntleroy and I am currently the ABE Instructor for the Kennedy Institute of Catholic Charities. I have only been in this position for six months and I am learning every day.  I look forward to receiving as much information as I can to enhance my classroom. Thanks in advance for all of the support. Vanessa

Benjamin Miller - Progreso Latino's picture

Hi Everyone!  My name is Benjamin Miller.  I am an Adult Education Coordinator at Progreso Latino in Central Falls, RI.  We are currently developing a United Way grant program entitled Puente a Carreras/Bridge to Careers.  Our objective is to serve a low income immigrant community and make college, certificate, and career training programs more accessible to our often lower educated learners.  

Sandy Bostic's picture

I'm Sandy Bostic. I am an Adult Education instructor for Blue River Career Programs in Shelbyville, IN.  Helping students bridge that gap from HSE to postsecondary or training has become a major part of our business.  Any help that I can provide my students will be great.

Sandy Bostic's picture

I was not able to view the video.

Sandy Bostic's picture

Our program is so small. It would be difficult to teach through a particular career pathway. Not every student is going to want to go into health care.  We don't have enough students to split them up based on levels or career pathways.

Sandy Bostic's picture

I would use the Buzz Group when I use groups. On any given night, I never know how many students will show up for class. I have to be flexible. I don't use groups very often. I should, but it's just a matter of working it into my lessons.

Donna Kapp's picture

My name is Donna Kapp. I am the Academic Transitions Specialist at the Foundational Skills Institute/Community College of Denver. I am responsible to support adult students as they complete their high school equivalency and enroll in certificate courses in the Center for Career and Technical Education at CCD.

It seems to me that bridge programs address the needs of adult learners in several ways: high school completion, skills mastery, and sustainable employment in an accelerated and contextualized context.

While unemployment in Colorado is relatively low, many parents are unable to support themselves and their families because they lack credentials and skills, or are underemployed and therefore unable to take advantage of openings in in-demand industries in Colorado. Through a Department of Labor grant, we are targeting custodial parents of children 13 and under.

Donna Kapp's picture

Jeanette Wright is typical of the type of student who enrolls in our educational programs at FSI/CCD. They are diverse, with little or no background in math or science. They certainly lack confidence in their abilities to learn and use math and science in the classroom as well as on the job.
 

Carrie Penning Bush's picture

My name is Carrie Penning Bush and I am an ESL Instructor in Adult Education at Parkland Community College, Champaign, Illinois.  We have a strong ESL program but there have been some changes in the Illinois ESL Content Standards and in the general direction of ESL instruction to be more career oriented instead of just language learning.  Our department has offered Bridge classes for native English speaking adults but we want to offer them to our English Learners also. I hope to learn more about Bridge courses and how to make them success for our own communities.

What are the benefits of Western Technical College’s CNC Skills Institute’s approach to addressing the needs of lower-skilled adults who could not access the more traditional certificate programs in CNC offered at Western Technical College? Is there a target population in your community that has been historically underserved and for whom this model might be well suited?

Western Technical College seems to be a perfect example for study as they have truly connected (like a bridge!) a group of lower-skilled English Language Learners with real jobs that will let them earn a good salary and perhaps allow them to be further promoted in the future. Currently in Champaign we have two large groups of immigrants, one from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the other from Guatemala.  The Congolese tend to get jobs at our local factories packing products for shipping.  The Guatemalans seems to be working in the restaurant business and perhaps cleaning.  I would need to do more research about these groups to find out more information.  The big question in my mind is what companies and businesses are in need of skilled workers?  I believe we have been offering Bridge to Health Science Careers, to Manufacturing, to Transportation, Distribution and Logistics and to Information Technology.  The question is are these the Bridges we should offer or just the ones that were easiest to organize?  There also does not seem to be the partnership and cooperation between the school and business that is exemplified in the Western Technical College case study.

Carrie Penning Bush's picture

What characteristics about herself does Jeanette mention that are similar to the adult learners you serve? • What has motivated her to persist in the biotech program? • What supports does she mention that you could incorporate in your local program?

Jeanette says that she has no background in math and science but most of my students have advanced degrees from their home countries.  She says she is "diverse" and I think she means she is a woman of color and not white middle class.  My students would share this quality with her. I watched an additional video with Jeanette saying she not only got more interested and excited about the possibilities open to her because of the Bridge course but also she wanted to let her daughter and the future generations to know about this field so that they could study and get involved also.  She said she felt she was doing something important for the future. Somehow I missed what support she had.  In the second video I watched of her and her instructor, it was easy to see how much positive feedback and support she was receiving from her instructor.  Her instructor was very proud of her work and said Jeanette could get a job at any time with her excellent skills.

jerry hopkins's picture

Effective bridge programs can be of great value to a population that will already face hurdles to becoming productive citizens after their incarceration involvement in the Criminal justice system is completed. 

Rallou Rice's picture

Hi! My name is Rallou and I am glad to learn new ideas on how to help my students achieve their professional or academic goals.

Michael Cruse's picture

I'm glad that you're here. Would you tell us a little more about your student population, and what your role is in working with them? 

Mike Cruse

Career Pathways Moderator

michaelcruse74@gmail.com