The Bridges to Career Opportunities (BCO) model is a multi-component intervention that assists adults who are underemployed or unemployed in advancing in a career and obtaining a living wage. Created by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the BCO model has four components of service:

  1. Contextualized bridge services such as basic skills education, career planning, and occupational skills training
  2. Employment services
  3. Income support services
  4. Financial coaching and education

The financial coaching and education, income support services, and employment services compose LISC’s Financial Opportunity Center® (FOC) model. With funding from the Social Innovation Fund, LISC implemented the BCO model in 32 community-based organizations in 11 metropolitan areas.

Study Goals:

The goal of the evaluation was to evaluate the implementation and the impact of the BCO model. This evaluation was conducted from 2016 to 2020.
Research Questions:
The research questions for implementation study and impact study were:

  • Implementation
    • To what extent did the study sites implement the following four components of the BCO program with fidelity:
      1. Contextualized bridge program services?
      2. Financial coaching and education services?
      3. Income supports?
      4. Employment services?
  • Impact Study
    • Were BCO participants more likely to obtain or advance in a job after program entry relative to a comparison group who received only FOC services?
      • Are BCO participants more likely to have attained an occupational certificate or postsecondary credential 12 months after program entry relative to a comparison group who receive only FOC services?”
      • Are BCO participants likely to complete their BCO program?
    • Were BCO participants more likely to have obtained or increased their credit scores after program entry relative to a comparison group who received only FOC services?
      • Were BCO participants more likely to have increased their net worth after program entry relative to a comparison group who received only FOC services?


The evaluation found the following:

  • Subgrantees implemented the model with a high level of fidelity, indicating that community-based organizations have the capacity to implement career pathways programming. 
  • The credit score findings highlighted the value in integrating credit and financial capability programming into the Bridges model. The outcomes take additional time to achieve, especially for participants who are spending a relatively longer amount of time in contextualized adult basic education and job training at the outset of program involvement.
  • To strengthen opportunities for participants to improve financial outcomes over time, LISC piloted a more intensive level of investment in and focus on post-placement coaching (also called “retention coaching”) in a subset of Bridges sites.  
  • While ongoing engagement with coaches was always a component of the Bridges and FOC models, constraints on Bridges staff time often result in resources being concentrated with trainees and training graduates seeking their initial job.  
  • Retention coaches provide long-term financial coaching and career advancement services. This allows LISC subgrantees a longer period to work with program participants on their job advancement goals and their overall financial health—particularly as workers’ financial goals and needs change over time.
  • LISC will continue to assess the efficacy of retention coaching in moving Bridges participants’ financial outcomes such as credit score and expand program enhancements like retention coaching as they scale and strengthen the Bridges work.

For more information, download the:

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Further information

Bridges to Career Opportunities
Implementing Organization
Brighton Center, Inc; Chinese Community Center, Inc; District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund, Instituto del Progreso Latina, International Institute of Minnesota, Project for Pride in Living, Inc; Wesley Community Center, Inc.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

AmeriCorps Program(s)
Social Innovation Fund
Age(s) Studied
18-25 (Young adult)
26-55 (Adult)
Focus Population(s)/Community(s)
Outcome Category
Financial literacy
Study Type(s)
Study Design(s)
Quasi-experimental (QED)
Level of Evidence
Abt Associates
Published Year
Study Site Location (City/County)
Northern Kentucky
St. Paul
Study Site Location (State)