‘Bridge to Employment’ Program Preps Students to Study STEM, Health Sciences

by Diane VanDyke

Montgomery County Community College is partnering with Wissahickon High School and Janssen Biotech, Inc., Janssen Research & Development, LLC, and Janssen Supply Group, LLC of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson in the Bridge to Employment (BTE) program, based in Ambler, Pa.

The BTE program encourages high school students to pursue post-secondary education and explore career options in health care and the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

BTE partners hosted a kick-off event earlier this month at the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, providing an orientation for the 50 Wissahickon High School students who are participating in the program, and their families. The diverse group of students has demonstrated academic promise and an interest in exploring post-secondary education options.

Students in the three-year program will continue their academic studies at Wissahickon High School and participate in quarterly visits to Janssen campuses. During their visits, students will spend time with their Janssen mentors learning about such careers in pharmaceutical research, clinical development, regulatory affairs, finance, technical operations, marketing, and engineering.

For its role in the partnership, the College is providing access to dual enrollment courses, parent/student college planning workshops and financial literacy workshops. Through the dual enrollment program, students will have the opportunity to earn college credits, meet professors and learn about the expectations for successful course completion. This portion of the program will enable students to successfully transition to college, as they learn and master time management techniques, organization skills and studying strategies, among other skills.

In addition to assisting students with identifying careers and higher education opportunities, the BTE program helps students develop the soft skills — stress management, self-regulation, organization, verbal and non-verbal communication, business etiquette, diplomacy and persistence — necessary to succeed.

In 1992, Johnson & Johnson established the Bridge to Employment program to help young people around the world build solid futures by introducing them to a broad array of careers in health care.  For more information the program, visit bridge2employment.org/.

: Back row, from left: Patrick McCrummen, Director, Convergence & Communication, World Wide Corporate Citizenship, Johnson & Johnson; Karen Gebhardt, Assistant Principal, Wissahickon High School; Michael Bzdak, Director of Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson; Paul Mongillo, Manager, Forecasting and Analytics, Janssen; and Cheryl Mearhoff, Director of Dual Enrollment, MCCC. Front row, from left: Mark Cunningham, Director, Immunology, Strategy & Planning Janssen; Lyn Fields, Principal, Wissahickon High School; Gwen Miley, Manager, Corporate Relations, Janssen; Susan Incorvia, Director, Secondary Teaching and Learning, Wissahickon School District; and Niamh Hunt, Senior Manager, Janssen; Leslie Bluestone, Director of Major Gifts and Alumni Relations, MCCC Foundation. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

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