At the Simple Career Day this month, one student looked extra happy to be there. We asked her why. She said that by coming to Simple (a beautiful workplace where many people enjoy their jobs), she finally understood what her business teacher meant about the importance of workplace culture.

This makes us happy, too. Helping students have “a-ha” moments is what we love best, because teenagers who are informed and inspired about their future are most likely to graduate.


This month brought sobering news from the U.S. Department of Education: Oregon has the nation’s third lowest graduation rate, trailing every state except Nevada and New Mexico.  This troubling track record is driving Portland-area employers, educators and a small army of volunteers to help more Oregon students graduate on time – and with a career plan.

career-day-ZGF-window-silhouette-2016This month, our partners at ZGF Architects, Simple, Multnomah County IT and Mercy Corps hosted more than 120 students for career days. Our partners at Nike, PCC Swan Island Trades Center, Urban Airship and Vestas hosted about 150 freshmen from college-and-career exploration classes at Madison High School on Oct. 19.


Madison was one of several Portland high schools with career activities on Oct. 19: Grant and Franklin also held major career events, with dozens of volunteers talking to hundreds of students about careers and job searches. We tip our hats to the career coordinators who make these events possible.


Coming up in November, our partners Wieden+Kennedy and Puppet will both host PWA Career Days. We’ll be working closely with our partners on other opportunities for students, from the ACE Mentor Program to classroom speakers.  Of course, we’re also gearing up for the annual NW Youth Careers Expo on March 14, 2017.

This work depends on many hundreds of people, united in the belief that big dreams and good jobs should be within reach for EVERY student. Thank you for being part of it.

What volunteers did this month to push up Oregon’s grad rate