Bridge Practices

Advancing Innovation in Adult Education logo

Bridges to Careers Expansion
Rochester Adult Literacy at Hawthorne, Rochester, MN

Expanding existing partnerships to enable a more diverse range of learners meet their career goals in health care pathways.

Description of PracticeAdvancing Innovation in Adult Education Logo, Rochester Adult Literacy at Hawthorne, Innovator in Bridge Programs

Hawthorne Education Center (Hawthorne) is an adult education bridge program that is part of the Rochester Public Schools District and maintains strong partnerships with Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC), Workforce Development, Inc., as well as area employers such as the Mayo Clinic and Olmsted County. In 2013, the partnership collaborated to create Bridges to Careers – Bridges to Healthcare, a program that prepares adult learners with educational needs to succeed in in-demand health care jobs. In 2018, the group expanded to include new employer partners and to offer new career pathways in different sectors of Rochester’s economy, including the Office Professional and Maintenance pathway programs. This expanded effort—Bridges to Careers Expansion—has created additional options for learners beyond the direct-service health care pathways developed in 2013. 

As part of the Bridges to Careers Expansion intake process, learners complete the Minnesota Career Information System assessment and meet with Hawthorne’s college and career coordinator to identify goals and create an educational plan. All learners take four developmental reading and writing courses and a Career Pathways course customized to their chosen program. Learners may take courses that lead to short-term industry-recognized certifications, such as the Office Support Professional Certificate, the National Retail Federation (NRF) Customer Service Certificate, a Boilers License, and OSHA 30 Certification. Learners whose goal is to enroll in college take a Transitions to College course that assists learners in preparing for the transition to further education. 

Innovative Features

  • The Bridges to Careers Expansion program added new career pathways in health care beyond direct-service health care pathways. 
  • Learners earn a short-term, employer-recognized certificate while enrolled in an adult education bridge program that prepares them for college courses.
  • Learners who complete the Bridges to Careers courses can receive up to seven articulated credits upon enrollment at RCTC.
  • Hawthorne and its partners meet monthly to coordinate services for learners.
  • Employer partners recognize program completion certificates and have agreed to interview and consider hiring completers.

Target Population and Requirements

Learners must obtain a pretest score at a minimum of National Reporting System Level 4 in reading to enroll in the Bridges to Careers Expansion programs for the Office Professional and Maintenance pathways. Learners without a high school diploma must commit to earning their high school equivalency (HSE).

Resources Needed to Implement Program

Hawthorne instructors who teach Bridges to Careers Expansion courses use Chromebooks and iPads. Instructors also can implement the curriculum in a computer lab with desktop computers. 

Program Contact

Rochester Adult Literacy at Hawthorne
Rochester Public Schools
700 4th Avenue Southeast
Rochester, MN 55904
(507) 328-4466

Connections 101
Great Falls Career and College Readiness Center, Great Falls, MT

Adult education, higher education, and workforce stakeholders collaborate to help adult learners gain the skills and strategies they need to be successful in college or the workforce.

Description of PracticeAdvancing Innovation in Adult Education Logo, Great Falls Career and College Readiness Center, Innovator in Bridge Programs

Great Falls Career and College Readiness Center (CCRC) is an adult education center that is part of the Great Falls Public Schools in Great Falls, Montana. CCRC is located at Great Falls College Montana State University (GFCMSU), a two-year community college. Connections 101 uses an innovative approach in which CCRC, GFCMSU, and the Montana Department of Labor and Industry comanage the program. Upon completion of the program, learners are prepared to develop a path in higher education, an apprenticeship program, short-term training, and/or immediate employment. 

Connections 101 is a bridge program that addresses multiple pathways that align with the needs of the Great Falls local labor market. The program includes contextualized instruction in developmental math and writing courses based on GFCMSU’s noncredit developmental math and writing courses. Learners complete a college success course recognized by GFCMSU, which includes career exploration and career counseling components, in addition to an industry connections course taught by the Montana Department of Labor and industry. Learners also enroll in an introductory college course or work-based learning opportunity. 

Innovative Features

  • Connections 101 is jointly implemented by adult education at CCRC, higher education at GFCMSU, and the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. A key to the collaborative effort is a shared vision to expand and scale comprehensive pathways for learners, as well as cross-referencing learners to access programs and services and staff.
  • The strong partnership between CCRC, GFCMSU, and the Montana Department of Labor and Industry Job Service helps CCRC braid funds to provide a no-cost program for underserved populations.
  • The 14-week concentrated program prepares WIOA Title II learners to transition to college. Learners complete the Accuplacer entrance exam at CRCC at no cost, and they can earn up to six prior learning assessment (PLA) credits at GFCMSU upon completion of the program. Connections 101 learners who transition to GFCMSU from CCRC receive 50 percent off the first six PLA credits that they transfer to the college.

Target Population and Requirements

The Connections 101 program targets adult learners with baseline assessments at National Reporting System (NRS) Adult Basic Education, Levels 3 and 4; Adult Secondary Education, Levels 5 and 6; and English as a Second Language, Levels 5 and 6. Connections 101 is available to learners who need to earn high school equivalency as well as those who already have a high school diploma. Learners who do not meet the baseline assessment requirements can attend regular adult education courses at the CCRC to build their skills and then enter the next session of Connections 101. 

Resources Needed to Implement Program

Learners attend the Connections 101 program for free. CCRC staff are certified to teach college-level courses. Industry Connection course instructor stipends are paid for by the GFCMSU’s funding under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.

Program Contact

Great Falls Career and College Readiness Center
Great Falls Public Schools
2100 16th Avenue South
Great Falls, MT 59405
(406) 771-5104

PluggedIn Virginia (PIVA) Boot Camp
Peninsula Regional Education Program, Newport News, VA

Enhancing the PluggedIn Virginia integrated education and occupational training model, the PIVA Boot Camp provides a bridge for learners with lower skills and barriers to employment through contextualized academic instruction and workforce preparation activities in preparation for occupational training. 

Description of PracticeAdvancing Innovation in Adult Education Logo, Peninsula Regional Education Program, Innovator in Bridge Programs

Peninsula Regional Education Program (PREP) is a regional education program in southeastern Virginia. Implemented by PREP, PluggedIn Virginia (PIVA) Boot Camp is a bridge program designed to prepare adult learners for postsecondary training, credentials, and successful employment in high-demand fields. PIVA embeds an adult education instructor within the occupational training program to provide academic support alongside industry training. PREP added the Boot Camp to the existing PIVA model to provide more dedicated time and support for learners to complete career exploration activities and build their academic and soft skills before progressing to the occupational training phase of the program. 

Boot Camp instructors use occupational training manuals and textbooks to contextualize instruction to strengthen learners’ literacy and numeracy skills. In addition to academic skill building, instructors incorporate workforce preparation activities, such as résumé writing and digital literacy projects. Learners also participate in soft skills training and receive job advising and job search assistance as part of the PIVA model and PREP’s preparatory Boot Camp. PIVA Boot Camp provides additional dedicated time and support for adult learners who are underprepared for the academic and content requirements of the occupational training phase of the PIVA program.

Innovative Features

  • PIVA Boot Camp expands access to learners that are not eligible for job training programs by delivering instruction in academic, workplace readiness, and occupational skills.
  • The Boot Camp structure offers a flexible model that can be used in a range of industries and with a range of occupational training partners, such as community colleges and state and local government agencies.
  • The Boot Camp incorporates career exploration to ensure learners are a good match with their selected occupational training.

Target Population and Requirements

PIVA Boot Camp targets adult basic education and English-language learners at National Reporting System Levels 4, 5, and 6. Learners can complete the occupational training programs without a high school diploma; however, PREP encourages learners in the health care pathway to earn their high school equivalency.

Resources Needed to Implement Program

Funding for the items used in the adult education activities and instruction come from PREP’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Title II adult education grant; a Virginia FastForward grant funded by the Virginia General Assembly for workforce training programs offered by the Virginia Community College System; the Virginia Initiative for Employment Not Welfare (VIEW) program for TANF recipients; the Virginia Department of Veterans Services; and the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS). 

Program Contact

Peninsula Regional Education Program
Newport News Public Schools
14302 Old Courthouse Way
Newport News, VA 23602-3727
(757) 283-7830, ext. 38658