Bridges Spring 2022 Update

April 11, 2022

Text Message from Bridges Parent in San Francisco

I am Nia’s mother, and we met briefly on her first day of work at Marine Layer. I have been meaning to express my deepest gratitude for helping Nia acquire this job.

She is enjoying it and you are so kind to acknowledge and celebrate her milestone at work! Experiences like these are crucial in enabling youth to transition successfully into society and independence. Once again, thank you for supporting Nia!

Cheers, Akiko H.

Bridges Youth Spotlights

Bianca Tinsley and Jordan Jackson of Chicago

After successfully completing a 60-day part-time, paid internship with JPMorgan Chase’s Business Solutions Team (BeST) in Chicago, Bridges participants Jordan Jackson and Bianca Tinsley have been hired as Transaction Specialists. With regular employee status, they now work 30 hours per week and are eligible for company benefits.

Before joining JPMorgan Chase, Bianca and Jordan had impressive work histories with several other employers: Both held paid positions with Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium. In addition, Bianca was an employee of both Staples and Aramark, while Jordan worked for Ross Dress for Less.

These young adults are prime examples of the many participants each year who, through Bridges, progress beyond their initial entry-level jobs into positions with higher earning potential and greater responsibility. We congratulate them both, along with the Bridges Senior Employer Representative, Mirna Velic, who forged this partnership with JPMorgan Chase.

Bianca and Jordan have performed so well that the company is encouraging Bridges to refer more candidates for BeST internships. In our Dallas office, a young man named Daniel has already become the first BeST intern from Bridges in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. We are optimistic that after 60 days, Daniel will also convert to regular employee status with the company.

Bianca Tinsley and Jordan Jackson of Chicago
Bianca Tinsley and Jordan Jackson of Chicago

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. You can also watch a new video about BeST on the Chase YouTube channel.

JP Morgan Chase & Co.

How Does Bridges Recruit Youth?

Across our 12 cities, Bridges maintains longstanding partnerships with some of our nation’s largest school districts. Bridges Employer Representatives make weekly visits to high schools in these districts and work with educators to identify, recruit, and enroll students. Most are high school seniors who receive special education services.

In these schools, Employer Representatives function as adjunct faculty and itinerant instructors, using classrooms and other meeting space to prepare students for job interviews, job offers, and ongoing employment that continues beyond their high school graduation.

Youth from 17 to 24 are eligible for Bridges, but the average age at enrollment is usually around 19. Youth no longer in high school can apply for services on our website or through vocational rehabilitation agencies and other community-based organizations. Out-of-school youth can work with Employer Representatives at a local Bridges office, in a library, coffee shop, or other public space.

With the launch of our New York City program in 2019, we now work with the nation’s largest school district, where 200,000 students receive special education services. Our nation’s second- and third-largest school districts, Los Angeles Unified and Chicago Public Schools respectively, are among those districts whose Bridges partnerships have endured 30-plus years. These districts, combined with others in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, have all been integral to our success in enrolling nearly 26,000 youth
since 1990.

Two students reviewing brochure in classroom
Across our 12 cities, Bridges maintains longstanding partnerships with some of our nation’s largest school districts. These districts have all been integral to our success in enrolling nearly 26,000 youth
since 1990.

New Information Technology Director

Justin Down, joined Bridges in March 2022 as our new director of information technology. He will assist our 12 Bridges cities and headquarters office with technology planning, implementation, and maintenance.

Justin comes to Bridges after a 16-year Marriott career working with the Courtyard brand. He progressed through multiple hotel management positions, including operations manager, food & beverage manager, assistant general manager, and general manager.

In his most recent Marriott role, Justin provided IT support to headquarters staff during the pandemic, when reliance on technology has been at an all-time high. His expertise will help our dispersed teams from Los Angeles to Boston use technology to collaborate more efficiently.

Justin completed a B.A.S in Cyber Security from George Mason University in Virginia. When he’s not solving technology problems, Justin spends time with his seven-year-old son Brandon and nine-year-old daughter Lena.

Justin Down
Justin Down is our new Information Technology Director.

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