For adolescents living in poverty, the ability to get a job increases their self-esteem, reduces their chances of dropping out of school or engaging in risky behavior, and helps ensure their self-sufficiency as adults.
Yet low-income youth typically have less access to employment and job training opportunities, have little experience with skills like creating a resume, and lack the network of connections and contacts enjoyed by their more privileged peers. Impact NW’s Urban Opportunities program was designed to close this gap, increasing participants’ knowledge of the job seeking process, engagement in the learning process, and self-confidence.
Urban Opportunities creates a brighter future for approximately 250 students each year.
Urban Opportunities serves the most at-risk youth in the community: those that are from homeless and low-income families, in foster care, adjudicated, or attending high schools with high drop-out rates and large minority populations. Our three-month curriculum focuses on job skills such as resume-writing, creating employment opportunities through partnerships with local businesses and our Voodoo Doughnut Van (a mobile branch of Portland’s popular Voodoo Doughnuts), and college and career exploration. We currently work closely with students at Jefferson, Roosevelt, Madison, Parkrose, Gresham, Centennial, Franklin, David Douglas, and Reynolds High Schools and the Metropolitan Learning Center. Last year, 98% of participating students told us that Urban Opportunities had given them an increased knowledge of finding a job—and half of these students were placed in on-the-job employment training internships!
Impact NW’s Urban Opportunities program receives funding from the Portland Children’s Levy.