Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Pueblo Community College: Bridge to Opportunity and HOPE

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): CO

Grantee Agency: See below

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2007/$106,155

About the Program:

This program assists parolees and probationers with transitioning into college and career pathways by offering college preparation, employment readiness, career planning programs, counseling in career interests, filling out complex college admissions forms, financial aid packets, and scholarship applications. In addition, the program includes a number of instructional units on character development. The HOPE Project provides instruction in a highly personalized small classroom environment. In addition to the HOPE instruction, the Navigator assists in the classroom in employment training issues, as a student advocate and as a connector between the two systems—college and work.

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

In its first year of operation (October 1, 2008- September 30, 2009), the HOPE Bridge Program served 72 participants, of which 64 completed the program and 8 dropped out. A total of 17 participants found employment through networking opportunities within the HOPE Bridge project. Thirty seven participants enrolled in Pueblo Community College (PCC) for the Fall 2009 semester, 9 are targeted for Spring 2010 enrollment, and 9 are undecided about attending college. The program just began their second year of funding ($102,220) to operate their second year of operation (October 1, 2009-September 30, 2010).

Research suggests that stable employment is critical to a successful transition into the community, but former prisoners and those on probation often have characteristics that place them at the back of the employment queue. Reentering individuals often encounter significant barriers in finding employment upon release from prisons and jails due to low levels of education, limited vocational (or marketable) skills and limited work experience.

The HOPE Bridge Program has successfully strengthened the community by helping to divert 64 people away from a life of crime and instead into college and/or a career pathway.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
George Rael
Pueblo Community College
Phone: 719-549-3145

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