Pop quiz: What does it mean for Oregon teenagers to become “career ready” in high school?

A. Picking a job and getting stuck with it forever.

B. Developing the skills and maturity that will help them thrive as young adults.

If you picked B, you have hit upon the driving force of our nonprofit. This fall, we’re pleased to see an unprecedented level of community support for helping students prepare for life after high school. Here are a few ways we’re involved, in our role as a bridge between high schools and employers:

We’re hosting more than two dozen career days this year. Our career day hosts in October include leading employers such as ZGF Architects, Simple, Multnomah County and Mercy Corps. Career days allow Portland students to go behind-the-scenes at leading workplaces, talk with adults who enjoy their jobs, and learn how to get started in a field. See our events calendar.

We’re assisting Portland Public Schools with on-campus career exploration. PWA serves as a resource for career coordinators and educators who seek help connecting to the business community. This fall, we’re helping recruit career speakers and mock interview volunteers at multiple PPS high schools. Learn how to volunteer.

We’ve opened registration for the 13th annual NW Youth Careers Expo on March 14, 2017. This year’s Expo attracted more than 100 leading employers and 6,500 students from 75+ high schools. Learn more about the Expo here.

We’re debriefing Portland students about their summer internships. This fall, we’ve talked with students about their experiences working at Skanska, Elemental Technologies and many other employers. We’re also supporting the next SPACE Camp, a grant-funded partnership of PPS and David Douglas for high school students and 7th graders. Learn more about SPACE.


We’re going where we’re needed. PWA welcomes students from all campuses, recognizing that ALL young people need help developing their career aspirations. We also do extra outreach at higher-poverty Portland schools, which often have fewer connections to the business community.

Again, the goal isn’t for teenagers to choose their life’s work at age 17. The goal is for them to see how every great career starts with a few good choices. We’re profoundly grateful to everyone who works with PWA to make this magic happen.

What ‘career readiness’ means