Portland Fire & Rescue Training Center was the hottest place to be this month. Or was it the coolest? Either way, the smiles on the faces of students and their hosts spoke volumes during an action-packed PWA Career Day in early October.

Two dozen students suited up and learned about the skills, stamina and compassion needed to be a firefighter or EMT. They lugged ladders and hoses, sprayed powerful jets of water and learned from the pros.

“I loved every activity we did and I learned a lot more about the firefighters and what they do for us,” a Franklin High student shared afterward.

Testimonials like these are golden when you’re connecting local high school students to the world of work, with a goal of exposing them to careers they might not have thought about. Thank you to PF&R for hosting this day for Portland students.


In October, our employer partners at ZGF ArchitectsPortland Fire & RescueZiba Design,The OregonianFINEUmpqua Bank and Oregon Health & Science University hosted about 200 students for career days. PWA also teamed up with our education partners,Portland Public Schools and the Parkrose and North Clackamas school districts, to take students behind-the-scenes at a Portland elementary school to learn about rewarding careers in education. Lastly, our colleagues at the Port of Portland and PCC Swan Island Trades Center hosted about 100 freshmen from college-and-career exploration classes at Franklin and Madison high schools on Oct. 11.

“Now I know that I really want to go for architecture and I love doing it. I know what I need to do in college to become one.” — Nadia Mindra, David Douglas High School


Franklin and Madison were two of several Portland high schools with career activities on Oct. 11: Cleveland and Grant also held major career events, with dozens of volunteers talking to hundreds of students about careers and job searches. We salute the PPS career coordinators who make these events possible!

“It was incredibly inspiring to see past projects at Ziba and getting to go on a tour of the workspace. … It prepared me for different subjects to look into studying at college.” — Marin Jurgens, Grant High School

In November, we’re looking forward to even more of a good thing. Our partners Multnomah CountyAWS ElementalKaiser PermanenteWieden+Kennedy and Mercy Corps will host PWA Career Days. We’ll be working closely with our partners on other opportunities for students, from the ACE Mentor Program to classroom speakers to college essay writing workshops.  And it’s never too early to gear up for the annual NW Youth Careers Expo onMarch 13, 2018.

This year-round work depends on many hundreds of people, each contributing to the vision of a bright future for EVERY student and a robust pipeline of talent for local employers. Thank you for being part of it.

Fired-up students get a taste of the real world during PWA Career Days