The Bridge to Employment (BTE) partnership at Bridgewater-Raritan High School worked to close the gap between students' high school preparations and employers' workplace expectations. Through their participation in the BTE program, students gained a clearer understanding of the requisite behavioral skills for the successful operation of a business structure.
The BTE program used a two-prong "classroom environment" model. Students participated in science (Advanced Biology) and business (Career Communications Skills) curriculum that was modeled to parallel a pharmaceutical corporation. For example, Advanced Biology students conducted various research projects to develop specific products, while Career Communications Skills students developed structures to support the work being done in the science arena, including financial, marketing and organizational mechanisms to ensure the products' commercial viability. Approximately 40 students from grades 10-12 participated in the program each year from 1998 to 2001.
In addition, the program included a project-based mentoring component. Engineers, researchers, and business representatives from Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceuticals, a local Johnson & Johnson operating company, provided guidance and on-site instruction to high school students. Students worked with their mentors at the Ortho-McNeil plant, communicated via e-mail, and met together for regular sessions. As part of the year-long program, students also participated in several company activities.