Paving Pathways to Success

“Bridge programs better prepare students for the high wage jobs of the future.”

- Jennifer Foster, Deputy Director for Adult Education and
Workforce Development, Illinois Community College Board

Women trapped in poverty-level jobs need a way out, a pathway to success. For many, the best pathway is a quality academic program that leads to a good job. Women Employed is working with community colleges, policymakers, and state leaders to make sure all working women have the opportunity to enroll in education and training programs that will help them meet their goals. In partnership with the Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition and Chicago Jobs Council, WE developed a unified definition of career pathways for Illinois to ensure that the state's advocates for education—from policymakers to practitioners—have the same understanding of what a career pathway is and can connect services and programs while working with the same language.

“The program helped me learn the math, blueprint, reading, and English that I need to do the job.”

- Luz, graduate of Elgin
Community College’s
welding bridge program

Building Bridges.  By 2024, 80 percent of jobs will require a college degree or certificate.  Yet three million Illinois adults lack education beyond high school. Many low-skilled workers want to advance but are not prepared for college. Some have been out of a school environment for many years or need to bolster math and reading skills before embarking on college-level work. “Bridge programs,” which combine basic skills training with career preparation, are a key strategy to prepare adult students for college and better careers.

Women Employed’s work with community colleges and state partners established funding for these programs.  We developed “how to” guides and curricula to provide solid content and promote strong connections to employers. Our Pathways to Careers Network is bringing concerned people together to make adult college and career transitions a priority for Illinois. Learn more about bridge programs and the Pathways to Careers Network »

Related Resources