Bridge Programs and Career Foundations

Women Employed

Bridge Program and Career Foundations are courses designed to remove barriers to career and college opportunities for adult education and workforce development program participants.

What This Includes

Skills addressed: Communication, Teamwork, Dependability, Problem solving, Technology Use

Bridge Program lesson plans

  • Downloadable lesson plans grouped by career/industry at two academic levels: Adult Secondary Education (ASE) Grade Level Equivalent (GLE) 9–12 prepares learners to pass the high school equivalency exam; and High Intermediate (GLE 6–8) prepares learners for ASE level work
  • Industry topics include Manufacturing, Healthcare, Early Childhood Education, Information Technology, Hospitality/Culinary Arts, and Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics
  • Technology Integration Toolkit provides strategies, resources, and guidance to support the use of technology to facilitate one activity per lesson

Career Foundations curriculum

  • Curriculum covers seven themes: Course Goals and Strategies, Transferable Skills, Toward an Elevator Speech, City College Career Focus Areas, Program of Study, Plan To Get to College, Creating a Pre-College Timeline, and Portfolio Presentations
  • Student guide with class activities, and tech integration activities
  • Online Instructor guide with lesson plan guidance, notes, and links to lesson slides
  • Whole course lesson plan outline with customization notes to help users tailor the curriculum to their student population and local community resources

Key Takeaways

  • The Career Foundations curriculum guide and lessons were adapted in 2020 to include distance learning modalities.
  • Career Foundations is Creative Commons–licensed and offers guidance for users to customize the curriculum for their needs.
  • These tools are best integrated in an Adult Basic Education, youth-oriented, or workforce development program for introducing career pathways concepts tailored to local community college programs of study.
  • Lessons have a minimum reading comprehension level of 6th grade and intensive industry-specific vocabulary.
  • Learners learn and practice personal and workplace success skills, such as communication, teamwork, dependability, problem-solving, and technology skills throughout the courses.

Illinois-based non-profit Women Employed was founded nearly 50 years ago. Its mission is to improve the economic status of women and remove barriers to economic equity. Career Foundations was envisioned as a series of steppingstones between adults without high school diplomas and high-skilled, high-pay careers. By introducing in-demand career pathways and associated skills into community programs and high school equivalency classes, Women Employed, in partnership with City Colleges of Chicago, created those steppingstones and streamlined pathways to employment and college. Corporate and community partners in this venture include Champion, JP Morgan Chase, Southwest Airlines, National ABLE Network, and the Chicago Foundation for Women.

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