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A New Study Shows the Power of LISC’s Bridges to Career Opportunities Model

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In the 15 years that LISC has been working to connect people with financial opportunity, we came to understand that in many cases, basic skills gaps often prevent unemployed or underemployed residents from accessing training and credentialing programs that can lead to living-wage jobs.

At the same time, local industries often lack a workforce with the right blend of technical know-how and “soft” skills needed for success in the workplace. We realized that a solution lay in matching employers in need of workers with a specific skill set to job seekers who've been trained in those skills. That realization led us to develop our Bridges to Career Opportunities model, which is now offered through 40 sites in our network of more than 100 Financial Opportunity Centers® nationwide.

Through Bridges, clients ramp up foundational literacy and math skills, get technical training and pursue certifications for a particular industry—and receive support like financial coaching to set long-term goals and help manage expenses during training.

Now, a new study offers statistical proof of the success of people who participate in LISC’s multifaceted Bridges programs. The study, conducted by the research firm Abt Associates and funded by the Social Innovation Fund, a federal grant program of AmeriCorps, underscores how Bridges participants completed impressive accomplishments in a relatively short period of time, during the 14 months that data was collected.

Among the study’s findings:

  • Nearly 9 out of every 10 Bridges participants (86%) completed the basic or career contextualized courses they took.
  • Eighty percent of those who completed courses also earned credentials in post-secondary education as well as career-specific credentials in fields ranging from healthcare to manufacturing to hospitality.
  • Roughly 60% of the Bridges graduates either found new employment or advanced in their career.
  • Bridges participants improved their reading skills markedly— a full grade level on average—typically in just three to six months.  

We invite you to learn more about the study, and about how the Bridges model works. These data demonstrate without a doubt how a multi-pronged approach to education, training and financial supports can truly make a difference for individuals, for families, and for the wellbeing of entire communities.