Johnson & Johnson's Bridge to Employment (BTE)

Johnson & Johnson’s Bridge to Employment (BTE)

By Elizabeth Isanuk Posted: April 19, 2024

Seed Bombs, Eco-science, and City Planning Activity

During a DIY seed bomb-making activity in March, Bridge to Employment (BTE) students delved into the roots of guerrilla gardening, an urban farming movement that has flourished for decades. Facilitated by Lisa Quattlebaum, PEF’s Industry Relations Project Manager, the group explored the vibrant legacy of this movement, particularly its blossoming in 1970s New York City, where forgotten city lots transformed into lush community gardens, representing a collective commitment to reclaiming urban spaces and fostering sustainability.

As the group molded clay and soil and packed it with seeds, they envisioned a greener, more resilient future for Philadelphia. Moreover, students had the opportunity to explore potential jobs and careers related to urban farming and sustainability – from urban agriculture specialists to city planners and developers – Lisa and the students discussed the diverse professions contributing to this vital movement.

About the Bridge to Employment Program

Founded by Johnson & Johnson in 1992, the BTE initiative set out to inspire young people from under resourced communities to remain in school, excel academically, and elevate their career aspirations. The program introduces students to a broad array of careers in health care and STEM2D (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing, Design) sectors by providing them with enhanced academic and real-world experiences.

PEF was honored to have been selected as the coordinating entity to launch BTE in Philadelphia and in the fall of 2021, proudly launched the three-year BTE program in collaboration with two area Johnson & Johnson sites, Mastery Charter Schools, Drexel University, and La Salle University. The program also draws on employers, parents and community groups in order to provide these driven students with academic enrichment, career exploration, and higher education preparation.

The student cohort spent time every month over the past three school years engaging in workshops, mentoring sessions, site visits and career panels that covered content such as time management and communication skills; professional networking; practical applications of scientific information; and STEM-related extra-curricular activities.

On May 15, 2024, a culminating event will be held at the Fairmount Water Works to celebrate the conclusion of the three-year BTE program for the graduating seniors. We look forward to this momentous occasion and the opportunity to honor the achievements of the students who completed the program. PEF will also recognize the hard work and commitment of our Ignite STEM students who have completed a program that kicked off in January of this year and was possible through a grant from the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust.

This closing program would not be possible without the incredible support and funding from FHI 360 and the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust Grant.  We are deeply grateful for their unwavering dedication to our programs and the invaluable contributions they have made to the success of our students.

We look forward to coming together for a day of celebration, reflection, and gratitude to honor the students who have completed the Bridge to Employment program and will soon become high school graduates! Click HERE to learn more about the Johnson & Johnson Bridge to Employment initiative.

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