Explore Career Bridge Programs
- More than 40% of recent college graduates are underemployed.
- Career bridge programs can help students and recent graduates build important career skills.
- Many nonprofits, government agencies, and large companies offer bridge programs.
- Companies provide professional development and mentorship to early career professionals.
Once the excitement of graduation fades, college graduates face the uncertainty of a difficult job market. To make ends meet, many individuals take jobs that don't require a college degree. A recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that 43% of recent college graduates and 33% of all college graduates work jobs that don't require a college degree.
Career bridge programs help recent college grads navigate the post-college world. Offered by companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies, these programs provide real-world work experience, mentorship, and professional networking opportunities. Read on to explore several popular bridge programs that can help jumpstart your career.
Accelerate Adobe Life
Accelerate Adobe Life helps set new college graduates up for success by overseeing a two-year professional development program. New hires and college interns benefit from summer workshops and ongoing monthly professional development sessions, including a private meeting with Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen.
These full-time programs come with Adobe's competitive pay and benefits package. The company offers jobs in all departments — including finance, marketing, and engineering — and maintains offices in California, New York City, Asia, and Europe.
Adobe recruits on college campuses around the world, but you can apply directly through the company's website.
Allstate Rotational Development Programs
Insurance company Allstate offers three-year programs for new graduates entering finance and technology positions in the company. The Rotational Development Programs provide mentorship, professional development, and the opportunity to attend learning conferences.
Allstate advertises these positions on its website. Program participants receive a full-time salary and benefits. During the three years, they rotate among different departments to develop a cross-functional understanding of the company's operations.
The number of available positions varies each year. Participants become part of a cohort of recent graduates, providing a built-in professional network.
Baker Hughes Aspire Early Career Development Program
Energy technology company Baker Hughes offers internships, apprenticeships, and early career opportunities for applicants interested in clean, efficient energy development. The company operates in 120 countries and boasts a workforce of more than 58,000 employees.
The program offers seven tracks in areas like engineering, sales, and finance. Participants receive two years of mentorship and training while taking part in cross-functional projects addressing company needs.
Baker Hughes continues to seek out greater diversity and inclusion in its workforce, and offers early career applicants full-time jobs with competitive salaries and benefits.
Chubb Associate Program
Chubb, a leading property and casualty insurance company, welcomes early career employees to its team through its two-year Associate Program.
The Early Career Workshop, which serves as a centerpiece of the program, is a five-day learning event that brings new associates together with company executives. Early career colleagues collaborate on a group project that complements on-the-job learning.
Chubb Associates take full-time, permanent jobs within the company with salary and benefits. Chubb offers opportunities in its underwriting, claims, finance, actuarial, and risk engineering departments; you can also find roles in human resources, marketing, and other business areas.
Cigna Summer Internship and Rotational Programs
Cigna offers rotational development programs for recent college graduates with a bachelor's or graduate degree. The health service company offers leadership development for early career professionals in 12 areas of company operations.
Details of the programs vary by department. The marketing program, for example, begins with a 10-week summer internship, with successful applicants moving into full-time positions. The managed care program includes two years of training, mentorship, and coaching. All successful program graduates receive a full-time job offer, and the company hires for positions across the country.
Fullbridge, an education technology company that works with individuals and corporate training programs, has served more than 350,000 learners who have gone on to work in top businesses around the world.
The company offers bootcamps, online learning, and self-paced tutorials to help students develop the soft skills employers want. Pulse bootcamps range from three days to four weeks in length, while Muse learning modules feature 15 lessons to build critical thinking skills. Additionally, FullbridgeX online learning provides access to online classes focusing on specific skills.
Honeywell Early Career Engineering Rotational Program
Engineering graduates can take advantage of Honeywell's Early Career Engineer Rotational Program to gain experience in multiple business areas. The program welcomes applicants with degrees in chemical or mechanical engineering.
Participants rotate among different facilities and site locations over three years. Early career engineers gain experience in site operations and designing solutions to company challenges. Graduates can then take on a dedicated job at the company's facilities.
You can apply for these opportunities online. The company also regularly seeks applicants at professional conferences.
Lake Forest College Career Pathways Program
Lake Forest College's career services staff begins preparing students for life after college in their first year on campus. The four-year Career Pathways program helps students identify potential careers, connect with mentors, and prepare for a successful job search. Currently, the school boasts a post-graduation placement rate of 99%.
LFC's location near Chicago and its strong alumni network allow students to connect with professionals in hundreds of careers. The Career Pathways program features career tracks in business and finance, creative arts and communication, science and healthcare, and law and public service.
M&T Bank Technology Development Program
M&T Bank offers prospective software developers the opportunity to jumpstart their career through its two-year Technology Development Program. The company designed this program for individuals with a passion for software engineering. Graduates with a degree in computer science, engineering, math, or a related field may apply.
During the program, participants rotate among various technology departments, working with senior technology leaders in three areas of interest. At the end of the program, graduates can apply for a permanent assignment.
Macy's Executive Development Programs
Retail giant Macy's provides new graduates with professional experience, on-the-job training, and hands-on learning through its Executive Development Programs. The company offers positions in technology, supply chain management, finance, and merchandising. You can work at the New York location or in offices around the country.
Business needs determine when departments offer classes. The eight-week sessions equip new professionals with an understanding of the overall business operation. Upon completion, graduates can move into a permanent position with the company. You can apply online through Macy's corporate website.
Recent graduates can access professional development, career coaching, and mentorship opportunities by enrolling in the 18-month Mastercard Launch program. These positions feature full-time work with salary and benefits.
Throughout the program, participants receive ongoing feedback throughout the experience to build on their strengths. Most of the Mastercard Launch positions work out of the company's office in O'Fallon, Missouri. Applicants must be graduating with a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.
My Brother's Keeper
President Barack Obama founded My Brother's Keeper in 2014 to increase opportunities for young men of color. The organization works to close the education and employment gap through networking, mentoring, and training. More than 250 communities participate in the alliance.
The organization's employment initiative offers resources for programs that feature career mentoring, early career professional development, and on-the-job training. MBK University launched in 2019 to provide online training for local leaders to address the continuous learning needs of their communities.
The Pathways Program
The Pathways Program places recent graduates in positions with federal agencies. Individuals who graduated from college in the past two years may qualify for this program, although veterans have six years after graduation to apply. The one-year program includes training, mentoring, and professional development.
Open positions are posted on USAJOBS, making it easy to apply online. There are opportunities in almost all federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Department of Agriculture. Individuals who successfully complete the program qualify for a permanent position.
Red Ventures Road to Hire Program
Digital content provider Red Ventures offers paid training and college access for individuals from underrepresented groups through its Road to Hire program. The company offers college scholarships, technical training in high schools, and a fellowship program — all focused on the Charlotte, North Carolina, region.
Geared toward individuals between the ages of 18 and 25, the six-month fellowship programs provide training in cybersecurity, coding, and information technology; professional development; and mentorship opportunities. Upon completion, Road to Hire helps graduates start their careers with top employers in the city.
Texas Instruments Internship and Rotational Programs
Texas Instruments designs and manufactures electronics, and works to advance a variety of technologies, from vacuum tubes to integrated circuits. College students and recent grads can launch their careers through the company's internship and rotation programs.
TI welcomes applicants in most business departments, including manufacturing, engineering, and digital marketing. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the company offers rotational placements around the world.
Rotation programs last 12 months, during which time participants complete two rotations. Applicants must have a degree in a related field and a minimum 3.0 GPA to apply. TI offers full-time positions to program graduates.
Wells Fargo Undergraduate Programs
Financial services company Wells Fargo provides internship and early career opportunities for undergraduates in a variety of fields. The company's program includes training in technical and soft skills, mentoring and career coaching, access to senior company leadership, and the chance to build a professional network.
The Enterprise Talent programs provide full-time positions to graduates in finance, risk management, and administrative offices. These programs last 12 months, with placements available at the corporate headquarters in San Francisco and at other regional offices across the country.
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