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Commentary/Op-Ed - March 2018

Op-Ed: Bridge programs get big results, but little support

New York’s bridge programs serve nowhere near the number of adults who would benefit from them. New York State should make investing in bridge programs part of its proposed $175 million workforce development plan.

by Naomi Sharp

Tags: workforce development economic opportunity skills

Governor Cuomo’s $175 million workforce development proposal, announced earlier this year, promises major new investments in the skills-building programs that New York needs. But for millions of New Yorkers who lack math and literacy skills—including 2 million adults without a high school diploma and 2.3 million who speak English less than very well—gaining entry to effective workforce programs will first require boosting their basic skills. That is the idea behind bridge programs, which help adults with limited formal education acquire the skills they need to transition into training and higher education.

In this Gotham Gazette op-ed, Center for an Urban Future Research Associate Naomi Sharp asserts that New York State should make investing in bridge programs part of its workforce development plan. Where the model has been implemented, the results are impressive. However, fewer than a dozen programs in New York City and just a handful upstate put the full bridge model into practice.

Read the op-ed here. 

This op-ed is a continuation of the Center for an Urban Future's extensive research on workforce development in New York, including the groundbreaking study, Seeking a State Workforce Strategy

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