All students deserve access to economic stability and independence.

There are many pathways to success, we help students discover them.

Our Impact

15000
Students served
1
Careers highlighted
12
hands-on experiences
1
district partners

Our Program

While some students enjoy taking tours and listening to guest speakers, many would prefer to test different careers for themselves. Our hands-on career simulations offer students the opportunity to see first-hand whether they like a career or not.

Our comprehensive Advising Program provides students and counselors real-time resources to help youth access the training and education they need to start their careers. Through text, video call, and email, we are here to help students succeed.

MorePathways.org is a public database open to the community featuring careers and Houston-area workforce training programs that have been vetted for affordability, employment outcomes, and mission alignment.

New at BridgeYear

MorePathways.org was created to be accessible to any student and is intended to help youth access the support they need without having to search through programs on their own to find those that are affordable and effective. Just as CommonApp and ApplyTexas allow college-going students to search for and apply to four-year programs, MorePathways.org will ensure youth have the same support when pursuing workforce training programs.

learn MORE ABOUT the careers we offer

BridgeYear exposes youth to affordable and accessible careers that provide youth economic stability and independence. 

All careers we highlight:

  • Require less than a 4-year degree
  • Are in-demand by employers 
  • Provide a living wage
  • Offer career ladders/opportunities for advancement

Why non 4-year degree pathways?:

Traditional education has long placed great emphasis on four-year degrees, forcing many students – like those who cannot afford college, those with GPAs at or below 2.5 and those who simply aren’t interested in a four-year degree – to disengage from planning their future after high school. This has caused many to feel their only options are unskilled jobs, like in retail or food service, which often offer unstable wages, zero benefits and slim opportunities for advancement.

How do you know employers are in need of BridgeYear’s careers?

Instead of relying solely on workforce data, we partner directly with employers and corporate sponsors to learn what labor gaps they are facing now and in the future so we can help them recruit for their most immediate needs. Currently, we have partnerships with Gulf States Toyota, to promote the career of automotive technician, and the National Kitchen and Bath Association, to promote trade careers in the kitchen and bath industry including Electrician, Finish Carpenter, and Kitchen and Bath Designer.  

How our program impacts advanced youth

Graduating high schoolers from low-income communities are part of the most vulnerable populations affected by the current crisis. COVID-19 has made their transition to college and the workforce less secure than ever, compromising crucial employment years that impact opportunities to escape poverty. 

According to a national survey conducted by Equitable Futures early in the pandemic, the coronavirus crisis has caused young people to feel great uncertainty about their future. Among a sample of “Black and Hispanic youth and white young people from households with lower incomes,” the percent of those who reported feeling very clear about their future job or career dropped from 43% in 2019 to 27% in 2020. The report also showed that a majority of youth value college differently with nearly 1 in 3 claiming they now think college is not worth pursuing compared to pre-pandemic. Today, this situation is expected to be worse due to plunging community college enrollment (NSCRC) and a 102% increase in student debt over the last decade (US Federal Reserve). These shifts all point to an important reality: youth need help forging non 4-year pathways that won’t trap them in a cycle of poverty.

Advanced youth, especially high school seniors and opportunity youth, have been BridgeYear’s primary programming focus since 2016. Our Career Test Drive® program helps youth plan their path out of high school by exposing them to affordable, in-demand pathways they can pursue immediately.

How our program impacts intermediate youth

To better prepare all students for opportunities after high school, BridgeYear offers our Career Test Drive® program to 7th-9th graders to increase awareness and strengthen career choice.

For 7th through 9th graders, our program was designed to help students make informed decisions that will prepare them for viable career paths after high school. As a result of House Bill 5, 8th grade students in Texas are asked to select an endorsement area for their high school studies. Selecting an endorsement – and specifically, selecting a Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway within an endorsement – offers students the opportunity to earn a free, industry-recognized credential. Yet when so few students receive these industry recognized certificates in the greater Houston area, too many students are missing this opportunity to become competitive in today’s workforce. 

By exposing youth to in-demand careers they can get obtain accreditation for during high school, our Career Test Drive® program helps students decide what CTE pathway aligns with their skills and interests and inspires them to optimize their time in high school to succeed in the workforce. 

READ MORE ABOUT facilitation options

Our Career Lab program offers two facilitation options: our full-service BridgeYear Facilitation option and a Self/Teacher Facilitation option. 

BridgeYear Facilitation

  • BridgeYear manages full setup, refilling and maintenance of all materials.
  • Trained BridgeYear staff facilitate the entire experience in-person and offer students moments of critical thinking and discussion around the activity and career.
 

Available to schools and organizations located within the Greater Houston area. For those outside Houston, BridgeYear Facilitation is available for an additional cost to cover travel. 

Self/Teacher Facilitation

  • BridgeYear ships all materials to you, including extra supplies and refills. 
  • BridgeYear provides videos and an instructors manual that explain each step of the activity for use during classroom facilitation.  
 

Available to schools and organizations located outside the Greater Houston area. For those inside Houston, BridgeYear Facilitation is already factored into your quote.  

READ MORE ABOUT in-class facilitation

Via our full-service model (BridgeYear Facilitation) or through pre-recorded videos (Self/Teacher Facilitation), our Career Lab program will lead your students through in-depth career exploration all from the comfort of your classroom: 

    • Students explore one career per class period.
    • Each Career Lab activity is designed to be completed on student’s desk.
    • Career Labs can be purchased to be reused with multiple class periods. We sell extra materials and refills to ensure you have enough for each student.

This experiential learning program provides schools and teachers an accessible experience they can implement with each class period throughout an entire school day.

READ MORE ABOUT OUR HANDS-ON ACTIVITES

BridgeYear firmly believes that hands-on learning is essential to career exploration and building career identity.

All Career Test Drive® (CTD) Program simulations are designed like science labs in order to:
  • Maximize engagement: Students are more likely to enjoy career exploration if activities are engaging and fun.
  • Mimic real-life careers: By simulating real career tasks, youth are able to determine whether a career fits their interests and skills.

Students need more than just talking, they need doing.

After watching students withdraw from the monotony of career brochures, speakers and staged videos, co-founders Victoria Chen and Victoria Doan reimagined career exploration to provide an immersive, hands-on opportunity for young people to explore their options after high school.

As one student put it: “The [CTD Program] gave me more ideas on what I can become in the future and brought more light to skills I did not know I had.”