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    Portland Workforce Alliance (PWA) NW Youth Careers Expo

    April 30, 2014

    (Construction West – Portland, OR) On Tuesday, March 18th, the Oregon division was one of over 125 participating exhibitors for the 10th Annual Portland Workforce Alliance (PWA) NW Youth Careers Expo at the Oregon Convention Center. The Expo is a collaborative event among area businesses and high schools, with the purpose to educate students on potential career pathways. This year’s event drew over 5,000 students from over 60 high schools throughout the region. The diverse group of exhibitors included multiple market sectors such as healthcare, design and construction, manufacturing, arts and communications, and business and technology, each providing hands-on activities and career insight for the students.

    This is the 3rd year that Howard S. Wright has been a sponsor and participated as an exhibitor in the event. The morning began with a breakfast that hosted a student at each sponsor’s table and several key speakers including Mayor Charlie Hales and Portland Public Schools’ Superintendent Carole Smith. Business professionals and educators participated in round table discussions with students about their career paths. After the breakfast, students filed into the exhibit hall or headed to scheduled mock interview sessions which included resume tips and interview advice.
    Rhonnda Edmiston, the Oregon division’s diversity & business equity manager and member of the PWA Board of Directors, was instrumental in planning a successful Construction Zone at the Expo. Companies that were involved in the Zone had to implement a construction activity in their display to engage the students.

    The Oregon division’s Sam Thompson (project engineer) and Janie Lundin-Ledgerwood (marketing coordinator) hosted a sustainability booth about the three pillars of sustainability: Social, Environmental, and Economic. Their booth included a spinning wheel and trivia cards with the goal of challenging the students’ knowledge of sustainability. The range of trivia question topics included: general knowledge, multiple choice, true/false, open-ended, and construction specific questions. For example: “Describe an economic benefit from using locally harvested timber on a job site?” Many of the students answered a correct answer of “less transportation costs” and were rewarded with a prize. The open-ended cards gave way to interesting discussion as well. One comment from an educator visiting the booth was, “I’m so glad to see this being talked about. Sustainability is important and kids need to hear more about it.”

    Thank you goes to Rhonnda Edmiston (diversity & business equity manager), Sam Thompson (project engineer), and Janie Lundin-Ledgerwood (marketing coordinator) for their involvement and representation at the event.