Since 1992, the Johnson & Johnson Bridge to Employment (BTE) program has been helping high school students in the United States prepare for careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Manufacturing & Design (STEM2D) sectors, including nursing. Twenty-six years later, BTE is an international program that operates in 18 countries through meaningful education experiences and authentic career preparation.
With a specific focus on young people from disadvantaged communities, BTE aims to inspire students to stay in school and excel academically, and further elevate their STEM2D career aspirations. The students begin involvement with BTE programs during their sophomore year of high school and continue until graduation, participating in activities from career coaching to shadowing opportunities at healthcare companies.
To make the program a reality, BTE involves four key partners: a Johnson & Johnson operating company, a higher education institution, a secondary school, and a community organization. Each partner plays a role in creating a customized program that fits the academic and experiential needs of each student.
To date, more than 4,300 students have participated in BTE programs, with 100 percent of them graduating from high school and approximately 47 percent planning to pursue a career in the health sector. Among BTE alumni currently in the workforce, 16 percent are nurses or doctors.
Jillian Price, RN, a BTE-Livingston County Alumni and current high-risk labor and delivery nurse at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y., attributes her career choice to the experiences provided through BTE.
“When my BTE mentor learned that I was interested in healthcare and nursing, she set up a series of job shadows. This helped me make an informed decision about my future,” Jillian said. “Knowing how I felt about nursing before college was a big help for me – I didn’t go into college not knowing. I went from getting my feet wet to jumping in head first.”
For more information on the BTE program and its impact on youth around the world, visit bridge2employment.org.