Bridges to Opportunity: Workforce Development for English Language Learners


A major goal of Bridges to Opportunity was to share lessons learned and identify next steps. The two breakout sessions and the final working lunch provided the opportunities for conference participants to come together to do this.

The Day 1 breakout session was composed of eight groups, consisting of policy makers, researchers, program managers, instructors, job developers and counselors. Each group developed a set of recommendations, which were summarized. These recommendations were given to the breakout sessions on Day 2 and formed the basis of their discussions.

The three breakout groups on Day 2 – Instructors and Job Developers, Program Managers, Policy Makers and Researchers— developed the final set of recommendations which were presented to all of the conference participants at the final working lunch. As a group, we determined that developing the position paper was the first priority. We also agreed to advocate for it, circulating and sharing it with local, state and national policy makers. The suggestions identified at the lunch therefore reflect the collective wisdom of the conference participants and represent what participants felt was needed to move the work of the conference forward.

We thank the staff of LaGuardia Community College and members of Public/Private Ventures’ Workforce Leaders’ Academy for facilitating and taking notes at the sessions, and of course the conference participants for their thoughtful contributions to the final recommendations.