adult education bridge programs


Programs that prepare adults with limited academic or limited English skills to enter and succeed in credit-bearing postsecondary education and training leading to career-path employment in high-demand, middle- and high-skilled occupations. The goal of bridge programs is to sequentially bridge the gap between the initial skills of individuals and what they need to enter and succeed in postsecondary education and career-path employment.

The following definition outlines the key components of bridge programs in Illinois. This definition provides a foundation for bridge program design in Illinois.

Core Elements

Adult education bridge programs assist students in obtaining the necessary academic, employability, and technical skills through three required components: contextualized instruction, career development, and support services. Required elements include:

  • Contextualized instruction that integrates basic reading, math, and language skills and industry/ occupation knowledge.
  • Career development that includes career exploration, career planning within a career area, and understanding the world of work (specific elements depend upon the level of the bridge program and on whether participants are already incumbent workers in the specific field).
  • Transition services that provide students with the information and assistance they need to successfully navigate the process of moving from adult education or remedial coursework to credit or occupational programs. Services may include (as needed and available): academic advising, tutoring, study skills, coaching, and referrals to individual support services, e.g., transportation and childcare.

Career development and transition services should consider the needs of those low-income adults who will need to find related work as they progress in their education and career paths.


Illinois Community College Board