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Office of Community College Research and Leadership

An increasing number of jobs in today's workforce require postsecondary education, yet large numbers of workers lack the essential skills and credentials to fill these jobs. The result is that many workers remain underemployed, reaching a ceiling early in their working careers. In 2007, the Joyce Foundation launched the Shifting Gears initiative to assist six Midwestern states--Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin--in linking education, workforce development, and economic development at the local and regional levels. The first phase of the Shifting Gears initiative in Illinois was aimed at two efforts: implementing demonstration projects to identify and resolve local policy and program issues that influence bridge program instruction and developing a policy agenda to support bridge program instruction at the state and local levels. The second phase of Shifting Gears continues to focus on policy development, with special emphasis on student support services, the use of data, communicating to broader audiences, sustainable bridge program models, and promising practices that can inform expansion of bridge programs. This report summarizes the evaluation of bridge demonstration programs conducted during Phase One of Shifting Gears in Illinois. It includes selected program and student outcomes data and provides the reader with some detail about college context, program goals, students served, promising practices, barriers, and policy change. The six sites selected for this report demonstrated student outcomes or developed implementation models that showed promise for replication and lessons that could be of value for colleges or other institutions interested in creating adult bridge programs for similar populations. Both qualitative and quantitative results from the six sites are included. Page 19 displays a table of student enrollments, characteristics, and sample outcomes. A discussion of the cross-site findings is included. (Contains 1 table.)

Descriptors: Models, Outcomes of Education, Demonstration Programs, Policy Formation, Academic Support Services, Outreach Programs, Transitional Programs, Barriers, Program Implementation, Educational Strategies, Program Descriptions, Program Effectiveness, Comparative Analysis, Summative Evaluation, Educational Indicators, Educational Assessment

Office of Community College Research and Leadership. 51 Gerty Drive Room 129, Champaign, IL 61820. Tel: 217-244-9390; Fax: 217-244-0851; e-mail: occri[at]; Web site:

Autor: Bragg, D.; Harmon, T.; Kirby, C.; Kim, S.


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