What is a Bridge program?
Bridge programs prepare individuals with low educational attainment and limited skills for entry into a higher education level, occupational skills training, or career-track jobs, building the competencies necessary for work and education alongside career and supportive services. Bridge programs contextualize programming to a specific industry sector and have established relationships with partners (occupational training, education, and/or specific sector employment) who inform program design and serve as the primary destination for program participants.*
Bridge programs pair educational instruction and workforce development services using one of two approaches:
Contextualized Instruction: These programs teach academic skills contextualized with sector-specific content. The primary goal for these programs is educational attainment. Levels of contextualization differ according to participants’ literacy level. The sector focus serves as an engagement technique, and complements career counseling services to support participants in exploring industry sectors.
Integrated Instruction: These programs incorporate basic education into an occupation-specific training. The primary goal for these programs is attainment of an industry-recognized credential, entry into advanced training, or employment. The incorporation of basic education supports individuals whose literacy/numeracy levels preclude them from enrollment in training programs.
* This definition of bridge programs is New York City’s standard definition.
The NYC Bridge Bank is a repository of open-source curricula and program development resources. While materials need to be adapted to your targeted sector, program, learner population, or local employers’ needs, these resources offer strong starting points for customization.
The collection of materials on this site will be updated throughout the year as new open-source materials are identified/created.