Bridges To Careers - About

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Our mission is to connect diverse students with the resources, support, and training they need to successfully find fulfilling, well-paying, and in-demand careers that meet the region’s workforce gaps.

Program Overview

Bridges to Careers is a nationally-recognized partnership between Workforce Development, Inc. (WDI), Hawthorne Education Center, Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC), United Way of Olmsted County (UWOC), and Mayo Clinic. The partners work together to recruit, prepare, and support diverse students as they train to fill in-demand careers across our region where they earn a living wage.


Time Lines

For more detail on Popular Career Pathways Bridges to Careers Whitepaper



Since 2013

461 people have been served

334 credentials earned

62 in progress

27 Phlebotomists

9 Hemodialysis Technicians

ROI for Healthcare: 120%

Since 2017

76 students employed

18 area healthcare hiring employers

Common job titles include:

Certified Nursing Assistants


Hemodialysis Technicians

Home Health Aides

and more.





Employment & Self-sufficiency

From 2013

97 students have co-enrolled in the Bridges program and MFIP

53% have since closed their MFIP cases with unsubsidized employment

11% did so voluntarily

23% continue to be co-enrolled in Bridges and MFIP

Average wage is $12.48 with the highest wage recorded of $19.07

Meeting Workforce Gaps

Mayo Clinic

166 individuals have been hired since 2013

77% ethnically diversified the workforce

100% hired in departments experiencing workforce gaps

Rochester Public Schools

18 individuals hired as paraprofessionals since 2017

Educational Success
228 students persisted to RCTC

  • 90% took Freshman English
  • 90% earned a C or better Average number of credits: 8.6/semester (part-time status)
  • 63% retention rate from fall-to-fall semester (Does not include credential completers)
  • 58% of the Fall ’14 Cohort have earned one or more credentials.