Bridging the Gap from College to Careers (C2C) is a Kessler Foundation Signature Employment Grant funded initiative to improve the employment rate of college graduates with disabilities. San Diego State University’s (SDSU) Interwork Institute and PolicyWorks designed, developed and operated this initiative at three California universities employing a “Professional Development and Disability” curricula developed and piloted by Paul Hippolitus while directing the Ed Roberts Disability Services Center at University of California at Berkeley (UCB).  

Paul Hippolitus’ “Professional Development and Disability Course” prepares students with disabilities for career path success.  The principles and strategic intention of the C2C approach is to build on a person-centered exploration of labels and limited expectations around the disability narrative toward a set of professional development strategies and skills designed to prepare students for full employment through peer support and professional development and empowerment.  

As a part of the Kessler California C2C Project, an instructor’s toolkit was developed and hosted on SDSU’s Distance Learning Platform and the toolkit remains available for replication of the innovative course. The course and the online guide are free to be used as a resource for delivery to students with disabilities with acknowledgment for San Diego State University’s Interwork Institute and the Kessler Foundation.  Any other publication or use of these materials requires the written permission of the author, Paul Hippolitus.  Registration is required to access the course at:  https://interwork.sdsu.edu/c2c/ 

Offering a specialized course addressing both personal and professional development in combination with ongoing peer support and employer buy-in resulted in promising employment results. After offering the course for four terms across three universities, initial student outcomes reflect increased confidence, expanded work experiences (i.e., internships, apprenticeships), and meaningful employment. 

Replication and application of the model continues to be the goal for PolicyWorks and its project partners.  Please contact us for more information, consultation and/or support in the replication and sustainability of this effective college to career initiative. 

Read the Kessler Foundation’s impact report on C2C here.