Bridge programs train high-skilled workers for a stronger economy

NE_Appleseed_Icons_Opportunity-128Nebraska Appleseed does a lot of work to encourage more educational opportunities for people with lower incomes because we believe education is the best ladder for people to climb out of poverty.

Better education means better, higher-paying jobs that can support families and allow hard-working Nebraskans to be self-sufficient.  By 2018, 66 percent of all jobs in Nebraska will require education beyond High School, however only 36.5 percent of our population currently holds an Associate’s Degree or higher.

That’s why the Legislature passed a law last year to encourage more professional development for working adults with lower incomes through what are being called “Bridge Programs.”  Bridge programs provide “fast track” courses and supportive services like transportation to help workers with lower skills move towards a professional certificate or diploma more quickly.

Right now, nonprofits, adult education providers, and community colleges can submit applications for the funds to develop their own bridge programs.  To get a Request For Proposal, contact Vicki Bauer, Nebraska Department of Education, Adult Education Director.  You can e-mail Vicki.L.Bauer@nebraska.gov or call (402) 471-4807.  Please include your name, organization, and contact information.   You can find more information about the bridge programs on the Nebraska Department of Education website here.

Nebraska Appleseed encourages these educational outlets to start their own bridge programs and has created a Bridge Program Blueprint for Nebraska – a workbook for non-profits and educators seeking to apply for funding and develop bridge programs. The blueprint provides planning documents, resources, and best practices for bridge program initiatives.

If you have questions about Appleseed’s Bridge Program Blueprint, please contact James Goddard at (402) 438-8853 Extension 108 or jgoddard@neappleseed.org.

A hard-working labor force is one of Nebraska’s greatest resources.  By taking advantage of the educational opportunities provided by these new bridge programs, we can have the well-trained and higher-skilled employees that will give Nebraska a strong and stable economy for years to come.

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