BRIDGE program helps local students prepare for college

JACKSON, Wyo. — The Central Wyoming College BRIDGE Program is designed to help recent high school graduates prepare to independently and successfully transition from high school to college, start to earn college credit and explore career interests to embark on the path to a meaningful career.

This summer, 10 students applied for the initial cohort and seven were selected to participate. All seven students were the first in their family to graduate from high school and attend college, and six of the seven students have successfully completed the program.

Alisson Alvarado shadowing a two-day photoshoot at Stio. Alisson will attend Central Wyoming College in the fall. Mentored by Brendan Levine, Stio Art Director Photo: Central Wyoming College

From June 16-August 12, 2020, BRIDGE students:

  • Attended 108 hours of class time.
  • Earned three college credits for completion of ENGL 1010, English Composition 1.
  • Received regular support from the BRIDGE Director to ensure readiness for college enrollment.
  • Connected regularly with CWC staff.
  • Met at least three times with a community mentor.
  • Toured, shadowed and interned with at least two job sites of interest.

With an opportunity to practice applying skills immediately to the classroom or in meetings with their mentors and community partners, the BRIDGE program focuses on:

  • Academic Skills: Organization, using a daily planner, backwards planning, note taking as a study tool and self advocacy.
  • Self-Perception: Academic identity, non-cognitive skills associated with college readiness, identifying interests and passions and professionalism in the academic and workplace environment.
  • College and Career Planning: College vocabulary, understanding majors, building a four-year plan, understanding resources, exposure to college systems, informational interviewing, workplace exposure and professional communication.
  • Life Skills: Financial planning and building a professional network.
Edgar Mendoza, intern at the Jackson Police Department. Edgar will attend Casper College in the fall to study Criminal Justice. Mentored by Chief of Police Todd Smith and Sgt. Michelle Weber Photo: Central Wyoming College

Each student in the BRIDGE program met regularly with a mentor in the community, including local business owners, the Jackson Chief of Police and University of Wyoming faculty.

Students shadowed local businesses such as Owens Family Denistry, Four Seasons Jackson Hole, Stio, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Mountain Modern Motel. Longer internships included the Jackson Police Department and JH Public Art.

“The BRIDGE class really is great, especially for kids who have difficulty adjusting,” said one of the students.

“I’ve been a bit of a procrastinator, and this summer I realized that, hey, I need to get serious about this and not push everything until the last minute. It really helped me with organizing life and knowing how to keep a job and really balance everything including friends, homework/class and work.”

Thanks to the support from Teton Science School, CWC will host an AmeriCorps member during Fall 2020 to evaluate the effectiveness of the BRIDGE program through the first semester.

Through this summer’s experience and with this additional research, the BRIDGE program sees additional opportunities for:

  • Broadening BRIDGE to include students in the college’s Adult Education/HiSET program.
  • Providing training for high school college counseling staff on specific barriers to enrollment that can be addressed prior to high school graduation.
  • Facilitating training for college adjunct instructors on supporting students from diverse backgrounds
  • Providing regular advising and check-ins for first generation college students.
  • Partnering with Teton County School District to integrate programming into senior year curriculum.

Community Partner:

Central Wyoming College

Central Wyoming College is a community college that offers both associate's and bachelor's degrees and serves Fremont, Hot Springs, and Teton Counties Our main campus is located in Riverton, Wyoming and we have outreach

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