Dear PWA Friends, 

Happy November! This month brings lots of exciting updates here at PWA headquarters. 

The Future of Nursing Program is well underway. This year, we accepted 40 students from 6 districts around the Portland-Metro area out of over 140 applicants. The program is geared towards students who want to learn about careers in nursing and offers a unique opportunity for students to connect directly with near-peer mentors and experienced professionals . 

This week’s session included a discussion about how to get started in long-term care with representatives at Avamere, a coaching session with Breanna Jackson of The Refining Company about preparing for your career while in high school and small-group breakout sessions with nursing professionals who are currently working in the field.

“Like last session, I've learned so much that's made me so excited for my future,” one student wrote afterward. “And I learned about many opportunities that I can do now.”

The program wraps up on December 7. Follow our social media accounts to find out more from our students and partners.

What’s coming up: 

PWA has received nearly 40 applications for the Youth Impact Council, which will begin next month and go through June 2022. Students can apply here by November 23, 2021. 

Applicants are eager to use their voice to represent their peers and engage with the PWA staff and board. 

Early applicants said: 

  • “Making sure that everyone gets to have a voice is really important to me, and with this opportunity I could be a representative of not just my age group and peers but people who look like me as well.” 
  • “I've been thinking a lot about my future career paths, and I have my goals set. But I'm not sure how to accomplish them. My hopes are that I'll figure out an action plan and help PWA with interactions with students like me.”

Thank you to board member co-chairs Jarryd Briggs of Umpqua Bank and Rachelle Thurik of Topo Designs for their help with leading this year’s Youth Impact Council! 

We are also excited to launch our trades series for Parkrose students, also open to students from other partner districts, on December 1 & December 3, 2021. Students will learn from experts in trade fields including plumbing, electricity, fire protection and many others. The series will feature representatives from companies such as OEG, OSILETT and Neil Kelly, as well as programs such as Mount Hood Community College’s Applied Technology program. Students can learn more and register for the trades series here:

The nonprofit ACE Mentor Program of Oregon is accepting student and mentor applications for its 2022 program. This volunteer-driven program, staffed by PWA, is geared for high school juniors and seniors interested in architecture, construction and engineering. ACE will be offered in a virtual and hybrid format and will run from January to May 2022. Check out ACE’s website here for more information.

In-person and virtual volunteer opportunities: Want to give back to the community and help students prepare for their future careers? PWA is hosting in-person Mock Interviews December 6-9 at Adrienne C. Nelson, Rex Putnam, Milwaukie and Clackamas high schools, with virtual sessions (hosted on Google Meets) on December 13, 2021. Volunteers will have the opportunity to conduct mock interviews with small groups of students. Materials with sample questions will be provided. Sign up to be a volunteer here. Join our volunteer notification list by emailing

Board Highlight: The PWA Board of Directors plays a critical role in PWA’s growth and direction. Each month, we’ll highlight a board member and their contributions to PWA. This month, meet Erik Weeman, founder of WeeMade. 

“I found throughout the years that having that direct connection with students has been the absolute highlight of my time on the PWA,” said Erik at a recent PWA board meeting.  


Careers Expo: PWA has collaborated closely with educators, sponsors and exhibitors to determine the best format of the 2022 NW Youth Careers Expo.  The Expo is PWA’s largest career-exploration experience and attracts thousands of students, educators and employers from around Oregon. 

After intensive outreach and discussion, PWA decided to move forward with the 2022 Expo as a virtual event on March 15-16, 2022. Key factors are COVID-19 projections, employer restrictions and school staffing shortages. Though we are eager to resume the in-person Careers Expo, we're also energized by the opportunity to innovate alongside our partners.  

“I think this is a step into our future in how we can figure out different ways we can reach more students,” said Samantha Jordan, Chair of the PWA Board of Directors, at a recent board member meeting. 

Susan Nielsen, Executive Director of PWA added: 

“That was really the tipping point for us, hearing from educators that a virtual expo would be more accessible for students this year. It's really exciting to move forward and think about how to improve upon what we learned last year.” 

Giving Tuesday: 

Giving Tuesday is fast-approaching on November 30, 2021. Please consider donating to our year-round programming for students. Your gifts of money or time add up to make a big difference. Want to help PWA reach its goal? Share our content on social media to spread the word!

PWA is eager to continue to collaborate with partners, educators and employers to provide students with both in-person and virtual opportunities. Here at PWA headquarters, we are looking forward to working with you to uphold our core mission: Big Dreams. Good jobs. All students. 


Your team at PWA 

PWA November News: “A Step into the Future”