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Evaluation of Bridges to Career Opportunities: Final report (Alamprese et al., 2021)

  • Findings

    See findings section of this profile.

    Evidence Rating

    Not Rated

The study profile was developed by ICF Incorporated which co-manages CLEAR and therefore there is no conflict of interest.


Alamprese, J. A., Parsad, A., Shea, M., Cheng, I., & Hamadyk, J. (2021). Evaluation of Bridges to Career Opportunities: Final report. Cambridge, MA: Abt Associates.


  • The study’s objective was to examine the implementation of the Bridges to Career Opportunities (BCO) model which focuses on adults who have low incomes, low skills, or are unemployed and have not experienced success within a traditional education setting.
  • The study authors conducted an implementation evaluation using interviews with BCO staff and observations of delivered BCO services at evaluation site locations.
  • The study found that that the BCO model was implemented to a high degree. Two of seven evaluation sites implemented the BCO model with 100% adherence. Employment services were adhered to with the highest degree with five sites implementing the services 100% as intended.
  • The embedded impact study was reviewed by CLEAR in June 2022.

Intervention Examined

Bridges to Career Opportunities (BCO)

Features of the Intervention

  • Type of organization: Community Supports
  • Location/Setting: Multi-site
  • Population served and scale: Adults; Low-skilled; 2,350 participants
  • Industry focus: Not Included
  • Intervention activities: Employment services, financial coaching and education, and income support.
  • Organizational Partnerships: Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).
  • Cost: Not Included
  • Fidelity: Included

The Bridges to Career Opportunities intervention assists adults who are unemployed or do not have enough paid work to advance their careers to receive a living wage. BCO was created by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and was funded by the Corporation for National and Community Services Social Innovation Fund in 2016. Originally LISC implemented BCO in 32 community organizations across 11 U.S. cities. The BCO program has four components that include: a bridge component that offers career planning and education skills, financial coaching and education, income support services, and employment services. Participant and site data were collected from April 2017 through December 2018.

Features of the Study

This implementation study assessed how closely evaluation sites adhered to the delivery of the BCO model as designed by LISC. The research team purposively selected seven evaluation sites because they served the target population in question, had experience in delivering the bridge component of the model, could meet the enrollment needs of the evaluation, and could adhere to the evaluation timeline. Study authors collected data through two interviews with evaluation staff involved in the BCO program, two site visits to observe BCO model delivery, and two interim telephone conferences. The type of staff members included in the interviews were executive directors, program managers, staff who recruit participants, staff administrating BCO program model, and staff who enter program data for LISC. The first round of interviews involved 71 staff members and the second round of interviews involved 58 staff members. Two site visits were conducted for 6 of the 7 evaluation sites between May 2017 and 2018. The study authors performed a content analysis using the interview and observation to understand the types of activities that were done. Additionally, fidelity was measured at each site.

Study Sites

  • Brighton Center, Inc.; Cincinnati, OH/Northern Kentucky
  • Chinese Community Center, Inc; Houston TX
  • District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund; Philadelphia, PA
  • Instituto del Progresso Latino; Chicago, IL
  • International Institute of Minnesota; St. Paul, MN
  • Project for Pride in Living, Inc; Minneapolis, MN
  • Wesley Community Center; Houston, TX


Intervention activities/services:

  • The study found that 86% of the BCO participants completed their BCO education or training program.
  • The study found that 80% of participants who completed their training program earned at least one occupational certificate.
  • The study found that 57% of occupational certificates were for the healthcare field which was the occupational focus for over half of the BCO training sites


  • The study found that 94% of the evaluation sites implemented the BCO model as planned. Employment services were implemented as designed by 95.1% of sites, followed by support services (94.1%), and bridge services (93.6%).

Implementation challenges and solutions:

  • Study authors became aware that there was administrative data loss from BCO sites not following the data entry guidelines described in the evaluation protocol. Study authors attempted to monitor data entry more closely and encourage sites to follow the evaluation protocols.

  • Initially data collection was to be from January 2017 through December 2018, however there was a slower than expected rollout of the data system to sites for data entry. Study authors changed the start of data collection to April 2017.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The study authors were supposed to conduct two in person interviews with all the evaluation sites. However, there was a scheduling conflict with one of the sites for their second interview, so a telephone interview was conducted instead. Fidelity was assessed by the study authors and not by the CLEAR team.

Reviewed by CLEAR

May 2023

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