Describes the design and implementation of the STEM Early College Expansion Partnership in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which aims to create career pathways in advanced manufacturing and health care for underserved high school students.

“In [Bridgeport, an] old industrial seaport, education and workforce development leaders are trying something new to strengthen the regional economy and to improve the college and career prospects of young people. Bridgeport Public Schools (BPS) and its partners are aiming to align what high school students learn with both the academic demands of college and the workforce needs of local employers. They are developing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)- focused early college pathways as a way to better prepare future graduates for regional industries—advanced manufacturing and health care—in need of more highly skilled workers. About 40 students in grades 11 and 12 participated in pilot programs in the 2016-17 school year; they took college courses as part of their school day and earned college credit toward degrees and certificates with value in their local labor market….

[T]he pilots, which began in 2015, are part of [a]…long-term vision for Bridgeport to boost students’ mastery of STEM subjects by incorporating college-level courses into high school. The idea is to make learning more relevant to students by matching the curriculum with the knowledge and skills they would need on the job. The initiative, known as the STEM Early College Expansion Partnership, also promotes college and career success for students from disadvantaged backgrounds with a history of success in neither. The development of these pathways is complemented by professional development for teachers and principals in BPS, provided by experts since 2014 through the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching (NCREST) at Columbia University’s Teachers College, and by [technical assistance] coaches.

This brief describes the implementation of these efforts, their potential significance, and the important work and challenges that key partners—BPS, Housatonic Community College, The WorkPlace (the region’s workforce development board), and St. Vincent’s College and Hospital—tackle as they try to create effective pathways to college and careers, and align the community’s education systems with industry needs” (p.1-2).

Full publication title: Building Early College Pathways to STEM Careers: Bridgeport Tries a New Tack to Meet Employer Demand for Skilled Workers

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)