LaGuardia Community College announced that a vital initiative will continue due to a $390,000 renewal grant from the Robin Hood Foundation that will fund the innovative Bridge to College and Careers program which provides free high school equivalency preparation while exploring topics in healthcare, technology or business, to get students ready for college or future employment.
Housed within the college’s Adult and Continuing Education Division, the program has served more than 2,500 students thanks to Robin Hood’s support over the last decade.
“We are grateful to the Robin Hood Foundation for their ongoing support of our Bridge to College and Careers Program,” LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams said. “The confidence Robin Hood has shown continues to serve as a critical foundation of the program’s success in helping New Yorkers make better lives for themselves and their families. Because of Robin Hood’s generous funding, we have been able to offer this program tuition-free, which is incredibly meaningful given the low-income, disadvantaged students we typically serve and is even more so given the financial difficulties many students have as a result of the pandemic.”
By providing educational and career pathways for adults and out-of-school youth, LaGuardia’s Bridge to College and Careers Program was designed to address historic challenges of high school equivalency education programs, including high attrition, low pass rates on the HSE exam, and a significant gap for HSE diploma earners is a successful transition to college, certificate training programs, or the workplace.
The Bridge Program’s evidenced-based approach to contextualized instruction, where the curriculum is based upon content specific to a field of interest, continues to be recognized on a national level. Basic skills in math, writing and reading are taught using materials specific to the track, rather than generic material.
Sandra Chevalier is an example of the success of Bridge. The mother of five who was a high school dropout raised in foster and group homes wished for more than another job at a fast food place.
When she came to LaGuardia’s Bridge to College and Careers Program, she says staff “introduced me to a world of potential I never knew existed for someone like me. They told me I could go to college and have guided me every step of the way.” Chevalier enrolled in the healthcare track.
Less than a year later, she earned her high school equivalency diploma and enrolled at LaGuardia Community College, alongside her daughter Mariah Diaz, a LaGuardia psychology major while her mother is a Liberal Arts Major at Hunter College.