Students are resilient, as new PWA Board President Marcus Carter points out. That resilience is inspiring, as our board and staff work with the community to find new ways to connect, engage and serve in the COVID-19 era.

“Not only do [students] have an incredible amount of strength and resiliency day-to-day, but they have an incredible ability to adapt," Carter said (pictured left). "We have to hold that same character forward -- showing that ability to adapt."

On June 9, the PWA Board of Directors elected eight new members and four officers. Each new member brings a unique perspective to the board. (Hear from our newest board members about their first jobs, early life lessons and career advice, and learn more about PWA's new 2020-21 leadership.)

One common theme among new and returning board members is their desire to help PWA become more intentional around diversity and inclusion.

"If this current moment shows us anything, it’s that yes, we can always step up," said Carter, who was elected incoming president last June. "How can we be intentional about different demographics across our student base? I’m excited to dig deeper into that this next year.”

It has been a uniquely challenging year for Oregon schools, so we have been especially glad to support high school students through accessible virtual career learning this spring. Working with our partners, we served students in new ways, through online resources such as Expo2Go, launched in April, and virtual career learning with industry professionals throughout May.

Through a series of virtual career talks, students and teachers heard from professionals from Wieden+Kennedy, Oregon Humane Society, PHRMA, Swift, Kaiser Permanente, Nike, the Portland Trail Blazers, and more. We teamed up with Oregon MESA, the City of Gresham, Northwest Youth Corps, and more to organize in-depth virtual events for students of all ages and backgrounds. Click here to view the recordings of our spring career talks.

"I really enjoyed being able to see and hear the stories of workers in a big agency when one isn’t able to see their day-to-day work and experiences." - Axel L. of Benson Polytechnic High at the Wieden+ Kennedy Career Talk

"It was a well thought-out presentation with a diverse field of conservation jobs talked about with organizations across the Portland area. It definitely showed the many ways that people have gotten careers in conservation careers and gave tangible advice." - Joseph Wagner, an educator at the Eco Career Day

This month, PWA is talking with school partners about how we can support students’ college-and-career learning next fall, no matter what shape the school year may take. We are also reflecting on the civil-rights movement happening across the country and exploring how PWA can better translate our words and intent around equity into meaningful actions.

We want to be clear: PWA stands with those seeking an end to all expressions of racism, discrimination and bigotry, and we believe that participating in essential community change is central to our mission of serving young people. We also want to bring special attention to these organizations who are working hard to improve the lives of black students every day: Elevate OregonSEIPOIC+ RAHS, and Urban League of Portland.

If you have questions or want to get more involved with PWA, please contact us any time. Thanks so much for your critical role in helping PWA serve our community. We are thankful for your time as well as your financial support. Please consider making a gift to PWA to help high school students dream big and find meaningful careers.

PWA June 2020: New Leadership, Renewed Commitment To Students