See what employers say about the value of working with young people, their reasons for liking their jobs and their concerns about the coming retirement wave.


“Last year was interesting because I got to see 4 different career days in a row, which was really educational and informative in how we did our Career Day. I learned we needed to make it structured to be engaging and energetic for the students. We love teaming up with PWA because we see the real gap in primary education and college training.. ..So, we are investing in the long game of exposure and training to the best of our ability and bandwidth.”

- Tsilli Pines, VP of Creative at Instrument and Co-Founder of Design Week Portland | Over the years, Tsilli has been a part of half of dozen Career Days with PWA and is an inspiring community leader within the Portland creative industry.

"Organizations like PWA influenced my vision of what I could achieve beyond my circle of friends, family, neighborhood, and dreams. My purpose with PWA is to make sure I do my part to break every barrier possible to ensure kids can pursue their path to success."


- Marcus Carter, Talent Acquisition Partner at Cloudability | Marcus is also a valuable PWA Board member, and is on the steering committee at TechTown PDX. Read more about Marcus here.

"We get to expose the great careers in our industry and share our passion with young people at a time when we need new talent."


- Osvaldo “Ozzie” Gonzalez, P3 Consulting, Howard S. Wright Career Day Host

Ozzie Gonzalez

“There’s a huge opportunity in our community to influence youth and help them make career decisions. To me, that’s what this organization is all about.”

- Kevin Moore, Director of HR at Gunderson | He has led Gunderson's partnership with PWA over the past year, and is a valuable member of our board. Gunderson helped catalyze PWA's formation and has supported workforce development ever since. Read his feature here.

“Young people -- keep dreaming, keep never know where you might end up. And to the employers in the room, I would like to thank you for giving opportunities to young people."

- Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw, at the PWA Expo Breakfast, on the need to explore and support career education.

“PWA helps us access students who are invested in career goals and trajectory. This partnership supports our youth development goals as well as provides us with valuable feedback on our programs.”

- Beth Hartford, Mercy Corps Action Center. The Portland-based nonprofit hosts a PWA career day that inspires many students to consider humanitarian work.

“I don’t like my job -- I love my job. I get up in the morning, and I’m happy to come to work, even in this kind of weather, believe it or not. I’m inspired to do it, and I encourage it, because at the end of the day I say, ‘Somebody’s got to build these beautiful buildings.’”

- Ruben Blancas, Howard S. Wright Construction. His firm hosts a PWA career day every year.

“I believe we are better in our own work when we can share our passions, expertise and the knowledge we have gained with others.”

- Jane Williams, Multnomah County technology learning manager, after the county hosted a PWA career day focused on information technology. Jane is also a member of our board.

“It allows us to build relationships with the students. That in turn will hopefully help us keep our best local talent in town.”

- Mike Reta, Simple Finance. The online banking company hosted a career day at its headquarters in Southeast Portland's Central Eastside district.

“You have to think about the long haul, where you want to be, who you want to hire down the road.”

- Tim Carpenter, Lease Crutcher Lewis, on the need for businesses to think long-term about their workforce. His firm participates in a Youth Summer Construction Camp, a type of paid internship to help young people get work experience and develop career aspirations.

“It’s an investment in our future workforce, and the immediate payback is that we’re getting an extra set of hands.”

- Mick Winn, Blount International. Blount hires students through the Youth Apprenticeship Training Program.

"It affords us an opportunity to show students that Portland has great companies and that anyone can enter the technology industry. Hopefully Career Day inspires them to sign up for a coding class."

  • Nancy Garcia, AWS Elemental. The company hosts annual career days at its downtown Portland office for students interested in technology and coding.

“If you can talk through a problem and work it out, rather than bully your way through it, you will be ahead of half the adults in the world. ... Patient outcomes are tied to our ability to resolve conflict.”

- Todd Schoonover, a manager for Kaiser Permanente, giving advice to students during a career day at their Sunnyside Medical Center in Clackamas.

“Medicine, to me, just means science in action. And the action is what I like, because you’re able to help people. I have a great job. I’m really grateful.”

- Sharon Kryger, Oregon Health & Science University. OHSU is one of several local health care employers to offer career days and other opportunities for students to explore health careers.