We took a classroom of girls from Madison High School to Jive Software recently to learn about tech careers and meet women employees who love their jobs.

Talking with the women was “amazing,” one girl said. The best part, said another student, was “all of the stuff about figuring out your future. I am a senior and can think about almost nothing else.”

career-day-mckinstry-teaching-boys-2016This spring, we’re connecting Portland high school students with more than a dozen different employers. In April alone, we worked with McKinstry, Legacy Health, Upswell and Elemental Technologies to host PWA Career Days. This month, we’re heading to Portland Fire & Rescue, Banfield Pet Hospital and the Oregon Humane Society for career days and to several other employers for classroom visits.


Students love seeing actual workplaces, engaging in hands-on learning and meeting adults who ENJOY their jobs. Afterward, they often say they feel better about their future and less stressed about college.

Teachers see the impact, too. Doug Mandell, a Grant High teacher who has set up some of his own workplace visits, says getting students into tech companies is “really illuminating for them.”

“These trips have been a really exciting part of the year,” he told us. “Afterwards, I’ve seen a lot more excitement and engagement from my students, and I think the trips are at least partially responsible for some of my students pursuing a (computer science) major after they’ve left.”


The nonprofit Portland Workforce Alliance is a volunteer-driven organization that serves as a bridge between high schools and local employers. We have reached a record number of students this year, thanks to the legions of volunteers, educators and employers who share our mission.

We’re talking with our partners about how we might work together to expand opportunities in 2016-17 for ALL high schoolers, including extra outreach to historically under-served students. It’s an exciting time, and we’re grateful to each one of you who makes this work possible.

PWA in action: Out of the classroom, into the real world