PWA October News: "Big Dreams"

The 2021-22 school year is well underway, and so is PWA’s fall programming! On October 13, PWA facilitated its first Career Talks series of the year, bringing in over 250 students and nearly 20 volunteers from the greater Portland area in the nonprofit, healthcare, construction and creative/advertising industries. 

Students came from high schools across the North Clackamas School District, as well as other partner districts, including PWA’s newest educational partner, Oregon Charter Academy. 

The October 13 virtual series marked the first time PWA has held a career talks session devoted to nonprofit organizations. The nonprofit panel featured representatives from local and national mission-driven organizations, including Oregon MESA, Elevate Oregon, The Renaissance Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House. PWA also welcomed two of our newest employer partners, Avamere and Whitewood Gardens, to join Kaiser Permanente in the Healthcare Career Talk to discuss careers in nursing and long-term care. 

Students came prepared with questions and ready to engage. 

“[They] opened my eyes to so many different jobs and opportunities within healthcare that I never knew about before,” said Alicia H. of Rex Putnam High School.  “They also gave examples of schools and other resources that can help me achieve my goals.” 

Other students emphasized the diversity of careers they learned about during the various sessions. 

Nursing has always been a big dream for me ,” said Brighton H. of Clackamas High School. “I loved learning about all of the different career choices and how you don't have to just stick to one.”

Career day volunteers emphasized the importance of hard work, getting started early and how students can bring their own individuality to whatever career they choose. 

What that takes is everybody really exploring and practicing what it is about the way you think uniquely, your background, what it is that you have in terms of life experience that’s different from everybody else,” said Nathan Goldberg, of the global ad agency Wieden + Kennedy, which hosted the Creative/Advertising Career Talk. “That uniqueness that you have can really be a superpower when it comes to marketing or creativity or whatever you do.” 

Upcoming Career Mentorships: PWA is gearing up for its third year of the Future of Nursing program, which will begin November 9. The Future of Nursing is a mentorship program aimed for students interested in exploring nursing as a career. This year, the program will feature  caring volunteers  from the University of Portland, Kaiser Permanente, Avamere, Oregon Nurses Association, Legacy Health and the OHSU School of Nursing. PWA received over 140 applications for 40 spots. We will be sending students their welcome care packages and stethoscopes soon! 

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 towards high school students who are interested in the architecture, construction and engineering industries. ACE will be mostly virtual and will run from January to May 2022. Check out ACE’s website here for upcoming student and family virtual info sessions.  

We are also looking ahead to PWA’s Trades Series in early December, where students will have the opportunity to learn from leaders in the field about the trades industry. Look out for more information to come next month! 

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 Aida Aranda, training director of OSILETT (Oregon and S. Idaho Laborers-Employers Training Trust). 

“It is my hope that I can help build connections to apprenticeships,” Aida says, “and make career pathways to the trades an accepted, sought after and a highly regarded career option for all youth from every community.” 

Careers Expo: PWA is in the process of determining the format for the 2022 NW Youth Careers Expo, in collaboration with educators and employers. Whether the format is in person, virtual or a combination of both, our commitment to providing an engaging and interactive experience for all students remains constant. 

Please save the dates for the 2022 NW Youth Careers Expo below: 

  • If virtual: March 15-16, 2022 
  • If in person: March 15, 2022 (Oregon Convention Center)

Your support: Thank you to the foundations and individual donors who are supporting students through PWA. See our list of grant funders below. Giving Tuesday is coming up on November 30th; help us achieve our mid-year goal! Kindly consider becoming a one-time or recurring donor. Your gifts of money or time add up to make a big difference. To date we are 20% towards our mid-year goal of $10,000. 

Here at PWA Headquarters, we are grateful for our partners, students, and educators for their flexibility, enthusiasm and innovation so far this school year.  If we learned anything from our most recent career talks programming, it’s that students and employers alike are eager to show up, come together and learn from each other. Thank you to everyone who supports our work: Big Dreams. Good Jobs. All Students. 


PWA October News: “Big Dreams”