UAA’s Bridge to College & Careers helps adults return to college or the workforce

For individuals returning to the workforce after an extended absence, the thought of setting foot in a college classroom for training is often intimidating. Facing the fears of entering a formal educational setting often deters even the bravest of souls, especially those who have been out of college for a number of years or whose last academic experience was high school.

The Bridge to College & Careers program was introduced to the region to address the barriers faced by adults who wish to re-enter the workforce or return to college.
The Bridge to College & Careers program was introduced
to the region to address the barriers faced by adults who
wish to re-enter the workforce or return to college.
In 2012, the Community & Technical College (CTC) at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) began working with the Mature Alaskans Seeking Skills Training (MASST) program through the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The program is designed for adults over the age of 50 who are seeking work and facing those very anxieties and challenges.

In response to the growing need for workforce training among Alaska adults, CTC’s Continuing Education Department created and implemented the Bridge to College & Careers program with the support of startup funds from a grant sponsored by the American Association of Community Colleges.

The 120-hour workforce credential program was introduced to the region to address the barriers faced by adults who wish to re-enter the workforce or return to college. Highly qualified instructors help guide students to complete their academic assignments while motivating them to set high goals. The program provides training in five primary areas:

–Computer Essentials, covers computer operation basics and introduction to applications and includes 50 hours of hands-on practice.

–Effective Business Communication, features an English and grammar refresher and practice in written and oral communication.

–Math Refresher, reviews basic mathematics commonly used in an office setting or an academic classroom.

–Personal Finance, helps students understand banking procedures and how to manage one’s budget.

–Job Search Preparation, guides students in professional resume development, jobs searches online and in the community and mock-interview sessions to hone presentation skills.

Since implementation, Bridge to College & Careers has trained more than 200 individuals, many referred by the Alaska Labor Department’s MASST program, other state and federal programs with individuals seeking workforce training and by several of the regional Alaska tribal councils. In addition to those supported by various agencies in their training endeavors, many individuals are self-referred and seeking education and training independently.

The Alaska Labor Department reports that 98 percent of the participants who have completed the bridge program have been successful in returning to the workforce. The department also observed that annual pay rates are $14,000 higher for those who have completed the program versus others in the workforce without the additional training.

The program’s high standards of quality and rigor and the support of local and regional professionals who volunteered to conduct mock interviews for the Job Search Preparation capstone prepared participants to leave the program ready to interview for their next career!

About the Continuing Education Department
Continuing Education is proud to be part of the UAA Community & Technical College. The department offers more than 175 sessions of noncredit and workforce training programs each semester as well as hundreds of online training options. Class schedules can be viewed online at uaa.alaska.edu/continuinged.

All community members are welcome to enroll in Continuing Education classes. The department is located at the University Center, Suite 130, on Old Seward Highway in Anchorage. We Train. You Grow. Alaska Succeeds.

Story by Dana Thorp Patterson, Director, Continuing Education Department

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UAA’s Bridge to College & Careers helps adults return to college or the workforce
UAA’s Bridge to College & Careers helps adults return to college or the workforce
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