Mission & Goals

Preparing Youth for Brighter Futures
In 1992, Johnson & Johnson launched its Bridge to Employment (BTE) initiative to inspire young people (14-18 year olds) from disadvantaged communities to stay in school, excel academically, and elevate their career aspirations.

BTE helps young people build solid futures and strives to:

  • Increase the number of students who enroll in higher education
  • Increase the number of students interested in pursuing health careers

Through academic enrichment activities, career readiness and exploration opportunities, and higher education preparation, BTE students are exposed to various careers in the health industry and motivated to pursue higher levels of academic progress and take the steps necessary to build a better future and achieve their full potential.

History

Like many Fortune 500 companies in the early 90’s, Johnson & Johnson became concerned with the declining quality of U.S. secondary education. Johnson & Johnson established its Bridge to Employment (BTE) initiative in 1992, strengthening the connection between the classroom and the “real world.”

The initiative started small. Staff from Johnson & Johnson Corporate piloted a program in New Brunswick, New Jersey and employees worked with students from the local high school to improve their work readiness skills.

Over the next few years, Johnson & Johnson partnered with the National Alliance of Business (NAB) to replicate BTE in additional communities. A number of academic research studies, as well as data on school dropout rates, access to higher education, college success, and workforce issues informed program development. A core set of proven school-to-career principles provided its foundation. And, the 1994 School to Work Opportunities Act signed by President Clinton further propelled the growth of BTE. As a result, Johnson & Johnson launched BTE sites in more than 10 locations in the first 5 years of the initiative.

Gradually, BTE evolved. In 1996, the program started to focus on healthcare careers – targeting the STEM areas or science, technology, engineering, and math. Evidence based practices for workforce development and youth development were also integrated into the BTE program.

In 2003, Johnson & Johnson began partnering with AED’s (now known as FHI 360) National Institute for Work & Learning (NIWL) to manage the program. This partnership – which continues today – is a key reason for the ongoing success of the program and replication globally.

Starting in 2005, BTE became a global initiative with the launch of a program in Cork, Ireland. Over the last nearly 25 years, more than 70 BTE sites have been established in communities throughout the United States, Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. Today, four new programs start each year, with more than twelve programs operating at any given time.

Leadership

Johnson & Johnson has more than 250 companies located in 60 countries around the world employing approximately 128,000 people. Its family of companies is organized into several business segments, including Consumer Healthcare, Medical Devices, and Pharmaceuticals.Through Johnson & Johnson’s contributions programs and active employee involvement, Johnson & Johnson exemplifies the Credo and its responsibility to the communities in which its employees live and work. Johnson & Johnson aligns its philanthropic initiatives with its expertise in four key platforms for giving: Access to Health Care, Children’s Health, Professional Development and Education, and Community Responsibility. As part of this effort, Johnson & Johnson’s Bridge to Employment (BTE) initiative addresses community needs and expands opportunities for young people in science, math, and health care.

What makes BTE different from other corporate social responsibility efforts? It is the active involvement of the Johnson & Johnson volunteers. Employees are involved in every stage of program, including selecting community partners, designing the program, and providing actual program activities and supports. It is the main reason that this program is initiated only in communities where Johnson & Johnson has a presence.

To support local programs, Johnson & Johnson partners with FHI 360’s National Institute for Work & Learning (NIWL) to manage the BTE initiative. FHI 360 works with the local communities to design, launch and implement BTE programs. Technical assistance includes:

  • Strategic Planning. A six- to nine-month strategic planning process ensures that the local program is guided by the BTE evidence-based program design and protocol, yet implemented and structured to meet the needs of its unique community.
  • Professional Development. The annual Alliance Building & Training Session (ABTS) for BTE representatives from around the globe encourages cross-site communication, ongoing learning, and knowledge building. An “orientation” and two “enrichment” trainings and corresponding curricula are available to Johnson & Johnson employees and other community volunteers participating in the BTE program, providing tips and techniques for working with BTE youth.
  • Resource Development. BTE programs also have access to a rich, resource-based and practice-driven website and are able to communicate with their colleagues around the world through the BTE Facebook page.