Bridge to Employment Program Unites PEF, Mastery Charter Schools, and Drexel and La Salle Universities to Support Students’ Interest in Health Care in College and Career

Bridge to Employment Program Unites PEF, Mastery Charter Schools, and Drexel and La Salle Universities to Support Students’ Interest in Health Care in College and Career

By Allison Kelsey Posted: October 25, 2021

Philadelphia Education Fund is proud to launch the Bridge to Employment (BTE) program for 40 tenth grade students this month. The three-year BTE program, supported by Johnson & Johnson, introduces students to a broad array of careers in health care by providing them with enhanced academic and real-world experiences. PEF was selected as the coordinating entity to launch BTE in Philadelphia in collaboration with two area Johnson & Johnson sites, Mastery Charter School Lenfest and Shoemaker High Schools, Drexel University, and La Salle University.

BTE is designed to inspire young people to stay in school, improve academically, elevate their career aspirations and consider healthcare and STEM careers. The collaborative program draws on schools, employers, parents and community groups in order to provide a diverse population of students with academic enrichment, career exploration, and higher education preparation.

A virtual and in-person kickoff on October 6 was attended by Lenfest and Shoemaker students, PEF’s BTE coordinators, Drexel and La Salle administrators and volunteer mentors from local Johnson & Johnson companies.

“PEF was selected for the BTE program because of our experience working with local STEM programming, our passion for science education, and our partnerships with schools, universities, and corporations,” said Dr. Nancy Peter, Director of the McKinney Center for STEM Education at the Education Fund. “Overall, the BTE program is simply excellent and perfectly aligned with the McKinney Center’s goals.”

Through workshops, mentoring, site visits, career panels, BTE brings supports to students in three areas: Academic Enrichment; Career Exploration and Readiness, and Higher Education Preparation and Exploration. By their senior year in high school, students have been shown to have acquired time management, study, teamwork, and communication skills; are aware of the practical applications of scientific information in everyday life; and have taken a STEM course or AP course, or participated in a STEM-related extra-curricular activity.

Each BTE site works with an independent site evaluator to conduct assessments. Data gathered will be used to understand the BTE program’s effectiveness and impact on youth and guide continuous program improvement, build broader community support and awareness, and promote sustainability.

As Site Coordinator, PEF staff have been responsible for strategic planning and student recruitment. Going forward, they will manage the collaboration, handle data tracking and reporting, and act as fiscal agent.

Visit the Bridge to Employment website to learn more about the program.