Smart Horizons Career Online Education (, in partnership with Cengage Learning/ed2go (, established its Bridge to Start program to provide opportunities for students seeking to enroll in a post-secondary program.

Due to recently enacted legislation, all students must either have a regionally accredited high school diploma or a GED to receive federal financial aid. The AdvancED/SACS-accredited Bridge to Start program at Career Online High School (COHS; website) was designed as a solution for these students.

SHCOE’s cutting-edge program offers students the opportunity to earn the accredited high school diploma required to either enroll in college or continue in their current college programs. Currently, millions of students—including 25 percent of those already enrolled in post-secondary career training programs—are at risk of losing, or not qualifying for, federal aid.

The program is being offered through an increasing number of partner organizations, Florida Career College (FCC) being prominent among these. FCC has established learning labs on its 11 campuses in the state of Florida. These labs provide students with computer Internet access and represent a unique hybrid learning environment. Students have access to onsite lab facilitators as well as online academic coaches as they progress through their online high school coursework.

“Students are able to take advantage of COHS’s Bridge to Start innovative online education model while also immersing themselves in an on-campus learning experience,” said Dr. Howard Liebman, CEO and Superintendent for SHCOE. “The Bridge to Start program also represents an excellent opportunity for career post-secondary schools to attract and retain students.”

Bridge to Start was initiated on FCC’s campuses in May and it is about to become available on all 22 campuses of Anthem College, which was recently purchased by FCC. Established in 1982, Anthem College is a career-focused institution that enables students to gain a competitive edge for entry-level positions in business, technological, healthcare, and paralegal fields. The 22 Anthem campuses are located in 15 states, from Oregon to New York.

Recent graduates of the Bridge to Start program speak of their experience in glowing terms.

“The Bridge to Start career online high school program was great. The lab facilitators and academic coaches help you every step of the way. You have to work hard, but if you listen to the online lessons, the program is simple to follow and all the assignments and tests make sense.”
Benita Sylvain

“The courses and all the instructions were easy to follow. I was taking the General Career Prep program and I’m sure that a lot of what I learned in that course will be useful as I continue in life. I would recommend this program for people who are looking for a way to earn their high school diploma. ”
Jacklyn Serrano

“It was a great program that had a logical, step–by–step flow. I liked having a facilitator in the classroom and working there, and also being able to set aside time to work on courses at home.”
Loudwige Dorsaint-Geneval