Bridges Fall 2022 Update

September 21, 2022

Parent Testimonial from Dallas–Fort Worth

If you are a parent, Bridges is the best way to have a partner that shares your goals and dreams for your child thriving in a job that gives him purpose, dignity and real-world experience.

I highly recommend partnering with Bridges if you are a business and want amazing people to work for your company who may
bring some unique talents and gifts to your workplace.

Shannon W.

Participant Spotlights

Daniel Cannon of Dallas-Fort Worth

Daniel Cannon, an 18-year-old Dallas-Fort Worth Bridges participant, recently completed a 60-day part-time, paid internship with JPMorgan Chase’s Business Solutions Team (BeST). Daniel now has regular employee status, works 30 hours per week as a transactions specialist, and is eligible for company benefits. Daniel is the third Bridges participant to complete the BeST program, joining two others from Chicago who have also transitioned into similar roles with JPMorgan Chase.

Valuing a diverse and talent-driven workforce, JPMorgan Chase is frequently honored as one of the world’s best employers and is recognized as a leader in hiring people with disabilities. For more information about the company and its BeST program, visit “JPMorgan Chase Driving Inclusion Through On-the-Job Training” on the EARN website.

Daniel C., a Dallas - Ft. Worth participant, standing next to a ATM wearing his employee ID badge.
Daniel Cannon is the third Bridges participant to complete the BeST program at JPMorgan Chase.

Jonathan Hernandez of Dallas-Fort Worth

Bridges alumnus Jonathan Hernandez just celebrated his 10-year anniversary at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. He began in August 2012 in the Housekeeping Department, was promoted to the Engineering Department in 2016, and since 2021 has worked as an engineer II in this 1,840-room hotel, the largest in the state of Texas.

Sheraton Human Resources Manager Jenna Trolio says “Jonathan has taken ownership of his tasks within the department and worked extremely hard to get promoted to an engineer II. He absolutely earned it!”

Jonathan Hernandez, a Dallas - Ft. Worth participant, holding with his 10-year anniversary award.
Jonathan Hernandez just celebrated his 10-year anniversary at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel.

Johnson Scholarship Foundation Pledges $1.25 Million to Bridges

We at Bridges from School to Work are deeply grateful for the Johnson Scholarship Foundation’s second consecutive grant award, this one valued at $1.25 million over five years. Funds will build Bridges’ capacity through increasing staff professional development, bolstering measurement and evaluation, enhancing information technology, and extending Bridges’ NextGen randomized control trial with Mathematica to a third academic year.

The previous five-year grant award from the Johnson Scholarship Foundation of $750,000 was instrumental in launching ongoing Bridges programs in Fort Worth, Boston, and New York City, the latter now our fastest growing among our 12 cities.

“Few organizations are as effective as Bridges from School to Work when it comes to removing barriers to employment for young people with disabilities,” said Robert A. Krause, chief executive officer of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation. “We believe it is transformational not only for the employees but also for workplaces throughout the United States, and we are pleased to continue our partnership over the next five years as Bridges works to change the trajectory for more young adults.”

The Johnson Scholarship Foundation’s giving priorities include education and employment programming for economically disadvantaged students, Indigenous communities, and students with disabilities. Visit Johnson Scholarship Foundation for more information.

Johnson Scholarship Foundation Logo

Few organizations are as effective as Bridges from School to Work when it comes to removing barriers to employment for
young people with disabilities.

Robert A. Krause,
CEO, Johnson Scholarship Foundation

Staff Promotions

Congratulations to the following individuals for their recent promotions and new job titles:

Erica Jones
Senior Employer Representative,
Dallas-Fort Worth

Anna Sammons
Senior Employer Representative,
New York City

Lisel Brunson
Senior Employer Representative,

Sandra Meetran
Employer Representative II,

Ornelise St. Louis
Employer Representative II,

Lillian Oppong
Employer Representative II,
New York City

All-Staff Retreat

For the first time since our 2015 all-staff retreat in Atlanta, over 70 Bridges staff members from 12 U.S. cities convened in one location, this time in Orlando, for professional development and teambuilding. From July 18-20, workshops and break-out sessions were combined with a community service project benefitting Covenant House of Florida.

The retreat afforded an occasion for fostering camaraderie, especially after prolonged pandemic lockdowns and restrictions. Pictured here are Bridges staff members in a group photo taken during a 1980s-themed dinner and murder mystery.

Group photo of  the 2022 Orlando Retreat with four rows of people with arms raised in celebration.

CARF Accreditation

Congratulations to our Chicago and Los Angeles Bridges offices for earning three-year CARF accreditation. CARF stands for Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and CARF International is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services providers.

Aspire to Excellence CARF Accredited logo

Bridges’ 2022 Gala

After two years of virtual galas, we were thrilled to gather in person on June 8th, 2022, at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC. Richard Marriott, gala chair, and his co-chair, Scott Barghaan, VP and General Manager, Travel and Hospitality Vertical, Salesforce, welcomed almost 1,000 guests, representing more than 190 sponsors, who helped us raise a record-breaking $2,214,000 to help Bridges transform lives through the power of a job.

We honored William Bedford (second from left) with the Stephen G. Marriott Youth Achievement Award for his hard work and job success through the Bridges program. We were also treated to a lively conversation between award-winning journalist Richard Lui (far right), and Jershika Maple (far left), a Top 5 Finalist on NBC’s The Voice, Season 21, who graced us with a powerful performance that showcased her outstanding talent.

2022 Gala Group Photo of Key Figures