Innovation at JVS: Education Pathway

Innovation at JVS: Disability Services


In today’s economy, it is very difficult to earn a living wage and support a family without higher education. Our unique Education Pathway provides a way for low-income individuals to obtain higher education and begin their journey to economic success. Our integrated Education Pathway consists of three main components, with multiple entry points available for students with different skill levels:

  • Our Adult Diploma Pathway provides students with a high school diploma from Boston Central Adult High School.

  • English for Academic Success is designed for students who have already earned a high school diploma but need extra assistance with their English skills before beginning Bridges to College, our college preparatory program.

  • Our Bridges to College program equips adult learners with the English and STEM skills needed to enter college and complete a post-secondary certificate or degree, and also includes intensive academic, financial, and job readiness coaching.

Benefits of the JVS Education Pathway Model:

Better than a GED:

A high school diploma is often the gatekeeper to post-secondary education, job training, and many jobs. Adults without a high school diploma often seek to obtain a GED or other high school equivalency such as the HiSet, which are standardized tests now administered primarily by computer. Many adults who could be successful contributors to the workforce have the academic competency needed to complete high school but, for a variety of reasons, fail standardized tests. The Adult Diploma Pathway, which recognizes academic competency, is the only route by which these adults can prepare for career-ladder jobs. Additionally, research has shown that less than 5% of students who obtain a GED or HiSet continue on to post-secondary education. Those who do enroll in college face dropout rates of nearly 80%, and are often placed in remedial classes which do not earn college credit – eating up their time and savings. Our Adult Diploma Pathway program enables students to obtain a full high school diploma from Boston Public Schools, and 70% of ADP graduates go on to either enroll in training programs, Bridges to College, or employment.

Dual Enrollment/Early College:

Once students step out of the educational process, it can be hard for them to reenter and continue their studies. However, national dual enrollment/ early college models where students are able to enroll both in high school and college classes have shown significant student retention and higher graduation rates. As ADP students approach graduation, we encourage them to co-enroll in our Bridges to College program to allow them to more effectively and quickly access post-secondary credentials. Furthermore, once students are enrolled in Bridges to College, they can enroll in Bunker Hill Community College and earn college credits while they complete the Bridges program at JVS.

Helping Immigrants and Refugees Prepare for College:

Many immigrants and refugees in the Greater Boston area have already obtained a high school diploma and want to attend college, but lack sufficient English skills. Our English for Academic Success program is designed to empower immigrants and refugees with the English skills they need to begin our Bridges to College program and prepare for post-secondary education. Upon completion of the English for Academic Success program, nearly 100% of students begin studying in Bridges to College.

Bypassing Remedial Education:

The Bridges model of intensive academic support, which includes college-level reading, writing, math, practical study, and technology skills, is designed to help adults close learning gaps much more quickly and efficiently than traditional college developmental education classes. Remedial college classes often have high dropout rates and do not always address the unique needs of non-traditional students, and Bridges allows students to bypass these classes.

Strong Support System:

Bridges incorporates weekly one-on-one and group coaching support for all students until they graduate from Bridges to ensure that the low-income, primarily limited English speaking participants have a realistic opportunity to undertake the demands of college study while balancing the other challenges in their lives. Students also receive job coaching and assistance with getting a job in their target career upon completion of their certificate or degree. JVS also provides assistance with navigating financial aid, enrollment in a matched savings account, and peer support activities.

Focus on STEM Careers:

Bridges to College offers multiple career pathways to industry-recognized certificates in high demand, STEM occupations, including a biotechnology & certificate program at Quincy College and a Healthcare Information Technology program at Bunker Hill Community College.

High Completion Rates:

Students in our Biotechnology and Healthcare Information Technology tracks benefit from entering college together as a cohort. When students enter college as a cohort, they enter with a built-in peer support network, and as a result graduation rates improve. Since the Biotechnology program started in 2013, 85% of those enrolled have successfully completed the certificate degree program at Quincy College. Students are getting jobs in area biotech research and manufacturing at a high rate.

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