Career Bridge Helps Displaced Workers Navigate Career Change

Apr 5, 2021, 12:10 PM by Amanda Hill
Career Bridge

Lenfest Foundation Supports Program Launch with $500,000 Grant

PHILADELPHIA – Peirce College has recently launched a new program called Career Bridge that helps displaced workers navigate career change by acquiring the skills, certifications and credentials needed for jobs that pay family-sustaining wages and providing guidance and support to help find employment opportunities.

The Lenfest Foundation recently awarded Peirce College a $500,000 grant to support the launch of Career Bridge and make the program more accessible to displaced and unemployed workers and those in underserved communities by covering the cost for 40 need-based students.

“We are grateful to the Lenfest Foundation for its generous support of this innovative initiative, which is aligned with the needs of students and employers,” said Dr. Mary Ellen Caro, president & CEO of Peirce College. “Career Bridge is like a GPS for navigating career change. It will help adults in our region prepare for in-demand, family-sustaining careers in less than a year, and provide employers with diverse, job-ready candidates.”

The program, which also serves veterans, military spouses and other career changers, blends Peirce courses, industry-recognized certifications, skills mapping and prior learning assessment opportunities with career-integrated advising and counseling to create short, stackable tracks that validate students possess the skills and credentials required by employers for jobs with projected growth. The program will also guide students to sustainable employment opportunities.  

Career Bridge tracks can be completed in six-to-nine months and prepare students for jobs in medical coding, information technology, cybersecurity, project management, financial/business operations, and sales/client service.

The program is also integrating with social service and job training programs in the region, such as the Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center,Inc. (OIC), to leverage existing workforce development efforts in the city.

Peirce awards three credits for OIC’s BankWork$ program – which provides inner-city adults with the hard and soft skills needed to start a career in banking – that apply to an introductory customer service course in most of the Career Bridge tracks. This means BankWork$ graduates can enter the Career Bridge program with a three-credit head start to prepare for professional advancement or career change, depending on their professional goals and interests.

“Philadelphia OIC is thrilled to partner with Peirce on this visionary initiative to leverage our highly effective BankWork$ program as a first step for people to enter one of the fastest growing industries in our region,” said Philadelphia OIC President & CEO Renée Cardwell Hughes. “We look forward to expanding our partnership with Peirce to credential additional programs, providing supplementary educational resources for OIC graduates and opening more opportunities for our community.”

Peirce is also working with JEVS Human Services, PA Career Link and other organizations to identify candidates for Career Bridge and additional job training programs that can be evaluated for credit.

Research has shown that students and employers prefer shorter, stackable programs embedded with industry-recognized certifications that validate in-demand skills, especially post-COVD-19.

A survey from Strada Education Network that explores the impact of the pandemic on the lives, work and education of Americans indicates that value and career relevance are top factors for considering an educational program, and faster, more affordable programs are most important.

Additionally, the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of America's leading companies, recently launched a new effort to emphasize the value of skills to help improve equity, diversity and workplace culture.

“We need to find better ways to make the benefits of higher education more tangible for displaced workers and other career changers who do not always have the ability or the time to complete an entire degree,” said Caro. “Career Bridge will help students validate that they possess the skills needed by employers, and provide the support and guidance that many need to help find their way to a better job and a new career.”


Joe Guzzardo

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