When Danielle Shockey took over as National Dean of Education at Harrison College in July of 2012, one of her main objectives was to knock down barriers that prevent students from enrolling in college. Her first big initiative was to spearhead the launch of the Bridge to Start online high school program in Harrison College’s 11 campuses across the state of Indiana.

The Bridge to Start program enables students who lack a high school diploma to earn an accredited diploma and a credentialed career certificate in one comprehensive online program. Offered through Career Online High School, the program was launched in May of 2012 as a partnership between Smart Horizons Career Online Education (SHCOE) and ed2go. SHCOE is the world’s first AdvancED/SACS-accredited online school district. A division of Cengage Learning, ed2go is a leading provider of online courses for adult and continuing education students with over 2 million students enrolled in various courses.

Bridge to Start students have access to learning labs set up on the campuses of participating colleges, creating a unique hybrid learning experience in a campus environment. The program went live on Harrison College’s 11 campuses on January 28.

“What Harrison College does well is offer a variety of education pathways for student populations that have been traditionally underserved,” said Shockey, who has an extensive background in K–12 public education, both as a teacher and school principal. “We implemented Bridge to Start on Harrison College’s campuses as part of our ongoing effort to place programs in our campus communities that provide quality educational opportunities. We believe in offering multiple choices for all learners.”

Shockey sees the Bridge to Start program as part of an important effort to serve “students in the middle” who want to transition into post-secondary programs.

“During my years as a school administrator, I realized that opportunities were not always available for certain students, that the traditional pathway to education and academic success did not always serve what I call ‘students in the middle’—students who are neither academically challenged nor gifted, but who have the ability to do well in high school and then move on to successful careers. The Bridge to Start program gives these students the skills they need to move forward and achieve their educational and career goals.”

Dr. Dennis A. Trinkle, Provost and Chief Academic Officer for Harrison College, also sees the Bridge to Start program as an ideal fit for Harrison College.

“In its 110-year history, Harrison College has always placed an emphasis on listening to communities to find out what they need in the way of educational and economic development,” Dr. Trinkle said. “One of the barriers we hear about all the time pertains to students who don’t have a high school diploma and thus can’t enroll in college or further their career goals. The Bridge to Start program removes those barriers. For us, the Bridge to Start program is a win-win. Part of our DNA at Harrison College is knocking down barriers, and the Bridge to Start program does just that while at the same time attracting new students to our campuses.”