The Rochester Business Education Alliance (RBEA) is a broad-based employer organization focused on improving the quality of public education by bringing together employers and the Rochester City School District through school-to-work initiatives. Through the Rochester Bridge to Employment (BTE) partnership, RBEA partnered with Benjamin Franklin High School's Bioscience and Health Careers Academy, the Industrial Management Council, and Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics – a local Johnson & Johnson operating company. The BTE program focused on helping students succeed academically and prepare them for the challenges and requirements of careers in the allied health field.
The program realized its goals by offering site visits, shadowing experiences, and part-time and summer employment. Staff from Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics assisted in the redesign of curriculum to meet the standards required by technical entry-level positions while school-based volunteers delivered classroom presentations, assisted with laboratory experiments, judged science projects, and served as positive role models.
In the 9th grade, the BTE program brought participants to worksites with the aim of encouraging the students to succeed in math, science, technology, and health care-related courses and to show them what skills and knowledge they will need to prepare for careers in these fields. Tenth grade students had a one-day job shadowing experience. Eleventh and twelfth grade students completed job applications, prepared resumes, and participated in a formal interview conducted by Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics personnel. Students were then selected for full-time summer work in a variety of departments.
In 1999-2000, a BTE Employment Room/Career Center at Benjamin Franklin High School was established, providing a central location for students to prepare for job interviews, prepare resumes, complete job applications, and take computerized skill and job-assessment tests to determine what careers might best suit their interests and strengths.
Since the completion of the BTE program in 2000, the Rochester City School District has taken many best practices from the BTE model. For example, the school district has implemented a Certificate of Employability, which is being systemically infused into students' four-year plans, and the Career Center is being replicated in some area high schools.