Mayor Wheeler, civic leaders announce April Opportunity Youth Job Fair


Contact: Glenn Fee
Associate Vice President, External Relations
PORTLAND, Ore., March 7, 2018 – At a breakfast gathering, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and civic leaders – including PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero, Mount Hood Community College President Debra Derr, and Worksystems Executive Director Andrew McGough – called for regional employers and volunteers to support an April 13 Job Fair expected to draw 2,000 of the region’s Opportunity Youth.
Younger workers, especially teens, are struggling to take advantage of our region’s strong job growth. More than 30,000 of the region’s young people between 16 and 24 – over 16% of that age group – are out of school and out of work. At the same time, employers in a number of sectors lack a pool of qualified workers. These Opportunity Youth represent a strong pool of prospective workers, and the fair will serve to connect the young people with immediate jobs and career pathways.
The Opportunity Youth Job Fair – co-hosted by Worksystems and Gateway to College National Network with support from the national 100,000 Opportunities Initiative – will be held April 13 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Oregon Convention Center. Youth will be able to interview for immediate job openings, and register for Summerworks and Worksystems’ new Connect2Careers initiative. Connect2Careers is a systemic approach to organize jobs and training for young people to certify skills, giving them a leg up in the labor market and enhancing the quality of our local labor pool.
In his remarks, Mayor Wheeler underscored the urgency to provide first jobs and career pathways for our region’s youth. “Despite our booming economy, many in the city continue to struggle to make ends meet. Assuring that all Portlanders have the opportunity to fully participate in our economy is a fundamental goal of my administration and essential for our continued economic success. I urge everyone here today to talk to your networks of businesses to be at the Opportunity Youth Job Fair.” In announcing their national coalition’s support for Portland’s efforts, 100,000 Opportunities Initiative Executive Director Marie Davis shared, “The initiative is excited to support the City of Portland and this critical partnership between Gateway to College and Worksystems in their efforts to provide resources, jobs and training necessary to change the lives of youth.”
Participating employers including Starbucks, Salt and Straw, Macy’s, and IBEW Local 48. The Opportunity Youth Job Fair will include a Resource Corner, with services such as records expungement, housing and transportation assistance, and apprenticeship and training program opportunities. A Skills Village will allow young adults to practice interview skills, fill out job applications from participating employers, and create profiles for Summerworks and Connect2Careers.
For more information about the Opportunity Youth Job Fair, including registration for employers, youth, and volunteers, visit For more information about Summerworks and Connect2Careers, visit
About Gateway to College National Network (GtCNN)
GtCNN supports communities nationally in building sustainable pathways for out-of-school and off-track youth to a high school diploma and a meaningful college credential. GtCNN’s PDX Bridge initiative – launched in 2017 – propels Portland-area foster, juvenile justice, and homeless youth on a pathway from high school to and through college., @gtcnn
About Worksystems
Worksystems accelerates economic growth in the City of Portland, Multnomah and Washington Counties by pursuing and investing resources to improve the quality of the workforce. They design and coordinate workforce development programs and services delivered through a network of local partners to help people get the skills, training and education they need to go to work or to advance in their careers., @worksystems
About the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative
The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative has created the nation’s largest employer-led private sector coalition committed to creating pathways to employment for young people. Companies engaged in the coalition help launch careers for young people who are just entering the workforce, including full- and part-time work, as well as internships, apprenticeships and on-the-job training. Each company is also committed to developing potential in youth who have some work experience but are looking to gain new skills that lead to successful careers.

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