Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities’ Bridges…from school to work (Bridges) recently received a $150,000 grant from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. The grant will support a three-year pilot of the Bridges program in Baltimore City Public Schools.
For more than 20 years, the Bridges program has worked to reduce the career gap for youth ages 17-22 with mental, physical, and cognitive disabilities. Since its founding, the program has placed 13,500 young adults with more than 3,500 employers across the country. The Weinberg Foundation grant has allowed Bridges to open a new office in Baltimore, Md. This is the newest Bridges office and the first to open since 2005.
Twenty students from Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School (MERVO) and Benjamin Franklin Senior High School are the first to receive job readiness training such as mock interviewing, online application processing, and customer service skills through the program. To date, nine students have been placed into entry-level, competitive, paid employment opportunities with companies such as the Baltimore Orioles’ Stadium, Burger King, Great Kids Farm and Johns Hopkins University Bookstore (Starbucks® Café).
“Providing meaningful employment opportunities for youth with disabilities is our priority and we are thrilled to be able to extend our program and its services to Baltimore,” says Shelby Hill, director of the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore Metropolitan Areas Bridges program. Bridges students have incredible potential and can make a substantial contribution to the workplace. We appreciate the support from our employer and school partners who help us make employment a reality for our students.”
The Marriott Foundation’s Bridges…from school to work program is located in nine cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Montgomery County, Md., and Atlanta.