Dual Enrollment and CTE Courses are Critical in Ensuring Oregon Youth Graduate College and Career Ready

Monday, January 29, 2018


We are heartened by the news that Oregon’s on-time high school graduation rate increased to 77% in 2016-2017, and, in particular, the achievement gap for our state’s Latino youth is closing. However, we still have a long way to go in order to ensure that all of Oregon’s young people complete high school ready for success in college and career.


Nearly one in four students still do not graduate from high school on time and, of those, many never receive a diploma. Those who do graduate high school are often left unprepared to succeed in college or in the workplace. Last May, the Oregonian reported on a study showing that 75% of Oregon community college students had to take non-credit remedial classes when they arrived on campus.


Oregon voters recognized the dual challenge of graduating more students and ensuring that they graduated ready for college and careers when they passed Measure 98 in 2016. This year, districts are beginning to receive Measure 98 funds to help them focus on dropout prevention and recovery, access to college courses, and career and technical education.


The increased relevance of dual enrollment and CTE courses are critical strategies for keeping students engaged in high school and preparing them for postsecondary success. Research demonstrates that taking college courses while in high school significantly increases students’ likelihood and readiness to matriculate to postsecondary education after graduation. The effect is especially strong for low-income and first-generation college students.


One new program, PDX Bridge, introduced last year by Gateway to College National Network, is making dual enrollment opportunities available for our most vulnerable youth, those who have been in foster care, have experienced homelessness, or have been impacted by the juvenile justice system. Currently, only 50% of these students graduate from high school and few continue on to college. Those who do continue in college are unlikely to persist due to a whole host of barriers. In order to show continued improvement in our state’s graduation rates, our greatest opportunity is to focus on our most vulnerable youth.


PDX Bridge is a collaborative involving schools, state agencies, non-profits, and community colleges in Multnomah County, providing wraparound supports to help these young people prepare for and enroll in college courses while they are still in high school. Upon graduation, a PDX Bridge Coach continues to work with these students to ensure that they successfully complete their first year in college, a strong measure of future success. In 2018, PDX Bridge will serve even more of our community’s vulnerable youth as it expands from its original program at Portland Community College to Mount Hood Community College and east county school districts.


Oregon needs an education system that puts our students on equal footing with the highest-performing states, but we must make sure that our most vulnerable youth are not left behind. Collaboratives like PDX Bridge ensure that our schools, colleges, and agencies are working together to provide the necessary supports to ensure that they do succeed. And when given the opportunities and right supports, they can thrive in college and beyond.


Emily Froimson
President, GtCNN


Jeremy Asay
Senior Manager, PDX Bridge

PDX Bridge: Jason's Story

Thursday, November 16, 2017



Jason has a beaming, infectious smile. He loves the musical Wicked, performing at Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings, and he was considering being his favorite Harry Potter character for Halloween.


Even though it was only his first week of classes at Portland Community College, he showed my colleague and me around the campus like it was a second home, sharing his favorite hang outs in Tabor Hall and the garden just off Division Street. His confidence wasn’t just a personality trait; Jason was comfortable at the college, in large part due to being a graduate of PDX Bridge, a dual enrollment program that is a partnership between Gateway to College National Network (GtCNN) and PCC.


“A lot of students go into college not knowing how to utilize resources at the college and not knowing how to study for their classes and be successful in general,” Jason said. “PDX Bridge really taught me and my classmates how to be successful, which is a lot of pressure. I know, for myself, I would never have been prepared.”


PDX Bridge helps students who have experienced homelessness, juvenile justice, or foster care with wraparound support while they earn their high school diploma and enter college or an apprenticeship. GtCNN connects existing support services from 37 regional partners to build this one-of-a-kind bridge program serving Oregon’s most vulnerable student populations.


PDX Bridge launched in 2016, and it has already had a marked impact on college-going rates amongst its students. Of the graduates from the initial cohort, 87% are enrolled at PCC or another college for fall term, an enrollment rate that is more than four times the national average college-going rate for foster youth.


“In PDX Bridge, there’s a lot of focus on showing students support and teaching them how they can help themselves be better at getting an education, which is a skill I think a lot of students go into college without,” Jason said. “They aren’t just there to give you a grade and have you move on; they’re definitely there to form a relationship with you and help you become a better student and a better person.”


Growing up in rural Indiana, Jason was homeschooled. When he began attending public high school, he realized he was behind and struggled to keep up. When he came out as transgender, his family wasn’t supportive, and he eventually dropped out of high school. He moved with extended family to Oregon and attended a few schools, but the barriers to graduation seemed to stack up.


“I’ve had a ton of struggles in my life and things that made it really hard, and there were so many times when I thought I would never make it and would give up,” Jason said. “But with help and some support, I’ve realized I can do anything I want to do.”


Learning to find and get help was key to getting his education back on track. His College Success Coach in the program, Allison Trowbridge, helped him access some of the resources he had available through PDX Bridge.


“Jason just has this strength and boldness. He’s going to accomplish everything he sets out to,” Allison said. “By the time he reached PDX Bridge, he knew exactly what he wanted, and he really knew the value of this program and has seized every opportunity that has come his way.”


Allison’s role is to be part advisor, part instructor, and part champion to help students reach their goals. In PDX Bridge, Jason found educational support, but also a community of caring adults and peers who all wanted him to succeed.


“The people with PDX Bridge are so supportive and so helpful and so open,” Jason said. “It definitely makes it less daunting going to school, because you know you have somebody you can actually trust who’s going to help you and wants you to succeed.”


Jason plans to finish his associate’s degree at PCC and then transfer to a university to study Environmental Science and Fashion. He can’t decide which he likes more, but he hopes to combine the two to improve conditions for workers in clothing manufacturing. Next year, he’ll travel to Africa through the study abroad program, Carpe Mundi, something he’s always wanted to do.


We’re excited to see what bright, promising PDX Bridge students like Jason accomplish.


Commit to Multnomah County’s Most Vulnerable Youth

Thursday, September 07, 2017



By Glenn Fee


Multnomah County, along with much of the nation, is facing parallel challenges: insufficient skilled workers to fill open positions and unacceptably high unemployment rates among young adults. Indeed, while the employment prospects are positive for those with education beyond high school, the news isn’t great for those with a high school diploma or less, typically people coming from low-income backgrounds. Despite a broad economic recovery, those with only a high school diploma or less are falling farther behind. According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, a staggering 95% of the 11.6 million jobs gained in the recent economic recovery have gone to those with at least some college education.


The challenge for Oregon is particularly great. Low-income students graduate from high school at lower rates than their peers and are far more likely to be unemployed. More than 61% of Oregon’s Opportunity Youth, young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are out of work and out of school, live below 200% of the federal poverty level.


The risk to these young people and their future is clear, but the risk to our community is great as well. A 2012 report by the Cowan Institute estimates the economic burden of each unemployed youth (lost tax revenue, criminal justice expenses, health cost, etc.) to be $13,900 annually. In Multnomah County, where 11% of our young people are Opportunity Youth, that represents a cost of more than $121 million each year. Yes, we need to do more to support these young adults to earn a meaningful postsecondary credential. But, many of these young adults need to work right now.


Oregon employers – particularly in fields such as manufacturing, health care, and IT – are concerned about their future pipeline of skilled workers. By connecting Opportunity Youth with jobs that will help them gain valuable skills and experience that place them on a pathway to a meaningful career, we can help our region’s employers close a growing skills gap. More importantly, we’re placing some of our most vulnerable youth on a pathway to success, and a future in our community where they will be able to afford homes, raise a family, and contribute to our region’s vitality.


Last May, Gateway to College National Network (GtCNN) held a Jobs and Career Fair in conjunction with our Gateway to College program at PCC. We hosted 24 employers, ranging from Salt and Straw to OHSU to Silicon Forest Electronics. Some of these employers had jobs they were looking to fill immediately, and all of them were eager to connect with a population of young people who are critical to their future workforce needs.


At the urging of employers and many of our community partners, GtCNN will host a regional ReConnect Jobs Fair in April 2018. The fair will bring together up to 50 Portland-based employers, 500 youth, and dozens of community volunteers to connect young adults with jobs and other work-based learning opportunities. Youth who have not graduated high school will have the opportunity to enroll in Gateway to College or another high school completion program. Volunteers will help students prepare resumes and cover letters, and hold mock interviews. Employers will offer a minimum of 200 job and work-based learning opportunities for Opportunity Youth who attend the fair.


Portland and Multnomah County will become stronger by supporting opportunities for our most vulnerable citizens. In fact, we can’t afford not to.

Get Involved with GtCNN in Oregon

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Oregon ranks 48th in the nation in high school graduation rates, and one-quarter of our state’s high schools fail to graduate one-third or more of their students on time. Students who do not finish high school have few prospects for employment, and a difficult future. Gateway to College National Network exists to give these students a second chance.


You can support our work with local youth in a number of ways:
Donations to Gateway to College National Network have a big impact. The average Gateway student enrolls at age 17 with a GPA of 1.62 and half of the credits needed to achieve a diploma. After graduating from our programs, 73% of our students continue in college (higher than 69% of all high school graduates who go on to attend college). You can donate online, by sending a check to 529 SE Grand Ave., Suite 300. Portland, OR. 97214, or by calling us at 541-737-1527.
Our upcoming Re:Connect Oregon fundraiser on November 2 is an opportunity to support GtCNN through ticket or table purchases, silent auction bidding, and donations while hearing from Gateway Graduates and networking with local leaders. We are currently accepting corporate sponsorships for Re:Connect. You can find more information here.
At our Gateway Gatherings, we host panel discussions on current challenges and opportunities in education and industry. Our next Gateway Gathering will be held on Tuesday, December 12, at the Northwest Health Foundation. You can find our Gateway Gathering schedule at gatewaytocollege.org/events.
Volunteer opportunities at GtCNN include serving on our Ambassador Council, providing event support, and representing your company at our jobs fair for opportunity youth in April 2018. If you have an idea for another volunteer opportunity, please let us know!
Work-based learning opportunities (paid internships and mentorships) are an essential bridge between college and career for our students. In Multnomah County alone, there are more than 8,000 youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are out of work and out of school. Help us create more opportunities for these youth in the local industry. In the first week of April, we will be hosting a jobs fair for our students and other previously disengaged youth. Encourage your company to join 50+ employers from the Portland area at our jobs fair.
If you would like to get involved in any these ways, please contact Hanna Lounsbury at jlounsbury@gatewaytocollege.org or 971-634-1527.



Gateway National Honors Awards: Academic Year 2016-17

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

We are excited to announce our new awards program, Gateway National Honors! The Honors designations recognize students for their hard work and academic accomplishments.


Presidents Award


3.7 - 4.0+ cumulative GPA


Massasoit Community College

Tayla Giannini
Gabriel Koubek
Amanda MacNevin
Kaley MacNevin


Mott Community College

Rebecca Heath
Benjamin Heath
Katherine Hyatt


Holyoke Community College

J'Anthony Smith


Portland Community College

Haley Aldinger
Aaron Bassow
Elianna Gnoffo
Ruby Munson
Phoebe Calkins
Kira Ekstedt
Daniel Moran
Alma "Risa" Otto
William Tang
Isabelle "Bella" Thramer
Aaliyah Fiala
Elena Volpi
Rebecca Jespersen
Kelly McManigal


St. Louis Community College

Jahon Ahmad-Gol
Lauren Bowers
Kalien Boykin


Montgomery County Community College

Daniel Madonna



Linda Huddle Award


3.5+ High School GPA* and/or
3.0+ College GPA*


Massasoit Community College

Alex Donovan-Ortiz
Calvin Duncan
Erica Goncalves
Zachary Honrado
Jalvin Peña
Anah Tucker-Olson
Marco Feeney
Josue Fernandes
Joseph Lussier
Kyle MacLennan
Collin Matson
Nicolas Provenzano
Giana Vittoriso
Jacob Boehner


Mott Community College

Dallas Fuller
Arieona Klaus
Amanda McNamara
Miles Skytta
Sean Suski


Holyoke Community College

Serena Boisvere
Nathan Donnelly
Eimy Holguin
Deborah Manus
Lionel Resto
Hectsy Robles


Portland Community College

Caleb Baldwin
Anand Boucher-Colbert
Dawn Dixon
Maya Lemma
Ayler Louviere
Claudia Johnson
Ethan Conrad
Tyler Dye
Watson Kendall
Valerie Patton
Tallan Paul
Allison Russell
Muslim Magomadov
Katrina Sharp-Behr
Mahdi Ahmed
Ben Dahl
Michael Hung
Malissa Nys
Nora Pearson
Mattie Schomus
Julia Crammond
Ximena Rojas-West
Esme Zodrow


St. Louis Community College

Zaymon Harris
Daisha Robinson

Montgomery County Community College


Alexa Spadafora
Chyanna Legarreta
Jacob Garrett
Leilani Lopes
Logan Harrison
Omowumi Popoola
Robin Polen

Student Spotlight: Eden's 2017 Graduation Speech, Mount Wachusett Community College

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Eden's speech begins at 14:08.


Hi. My name is Eden Shaveet. I’m 19 years old. I’m a Gateway student, I work at the college, and I love what I do.


That’s how I usually introduce myself to people. But today I thought I would introduce myself in a way I haven’t yet done before.


So Hi. My name is Eden Shaveet. I’m 19 years old. And I have attended 9 different schools throughout my lifetime. By the age of 12, I had been subjected daily to verbal and physical harassment by my peers to the point that I no longer wanted to attend school. At 13 I was shoved into a locker. At 14 I left school. By 15 I was purchasing and using substances I acquired from people in parking lots. At 16, I had adopted self-harm as my only means to cope. And at 17 I had lost all hope in myself.
Not as happy as the first intro, right?


But that’s the reality. And it’s a similar reality to those experienced by a lot of people, many of whom you may have never expected it from. And that makes us uncomfortable, right? So we don’t talk about it. And that creates a silence that often goes unacknowledged.


But it’s from that discomfort and from that silence that we are able to recognize the flaws in our perceptions that ultimately lead to the flaws in what we consider to be normal, appropriate, fair, and acceptable in our society.


Given my background as a former dropout and my current work in local public schools, I consider myself to be an advocate for education. And through this work, drawing from both personal experience and observation, something has made itself glaringly evident: As it currently stands, the education system in this country as a whole, inherently places certain populations of students at a significant disadvantage.


Populations such as students from low-income households, students who are first generation, students who dropped out or are at risk of dropping out, students who are disengaged from their communities, students who are bullied – all of these students are being underserved by a system intended to educate them equally and fairly, and it is the job of programs like Gateway to College, Talent Search, Upward Bound, and Gear Up to even the playing field and provide opportunity to these students that may not have been granted to them otherwise. Yet there are still people who believe that these programs lack meaning and value. There are still people who refuse to see any purpose in providing support to students in this capacity. In my everyday life, I have encountered people who have challenged me to defend the significance of the programs I have been a part of and worked for, with no intent to listen, and every intent to refute. Someone once even challenged me to defend Gateway to College as an alternative route to education, because they believed that as a student, I should have just been able to “stick it out” in my previous circumstances and to stop seeking assistance that wasn’t necessary. Well from a student’s perspective, I can tell you with the utmost amount of certainty that in the absence of such outreach programs I would not be where I am today and the fact that we have to fight to keep these programs functioning in our schools and communities is absurd.


According to a recent Gateway to College National Network study, the average GPA of students before they entered the Gateway program was a 1.62 on a 4.0 scale. By the end of their first term in the Gateway program, 83% of these same students earned a higher GPA than they had earned in high school, with over an entire grade-point improvement.


It is by unfortunate design that students of particular circumstances slip through the cracks in our education system, but it is contrary to such designs that programs like Gateway to College catch us before we fall, despite the barriers put in our way.


It’s no secret that barriers to opportunity emerge very early in life and that these barriers are highly indicative of a person’s likelihood to attain future success. Sometimes these barriers emerge in early childhood and sometimes they emerge even before a person exists, like a circumstance they were born into that they had no control over such as a lack of resources in an area they grew up in, that other areas or school systems did have access to. In our culture of desiring the “American Dream,” we’ve adopted this idea that if you want something badly enough, you can just work as hard as everyone else, and get it, right? But here’s the unpopular reality: Sometimes wanting it isn’t enough. Some people will never attain their aspirations due to the sheer fact that they lacked the support systems and opportunities that other people had readily available to them. The work of programs like Gateway to College and other outreach initiatives provide the resources we might not have otherwise received, and we are better off for it. We have to invest in our kids, invest in education, and support programs like Gateway to College, and so long as I’m around, so help me God, there will always be an advocate.


I’m eternally grateful to Gateway to College, and to Mount Wachusett for being a platform to offer this program to students like me who had nowhere else to turn. Thank you for opening your doors to me two years ago when any other school would have slammed them in my face.


I’m thankful for everyone who works in the division of Access and Transition, but especially to my resource specialist Sharmese Gunn for being my second mom whether I liked it or not.



Because of you I am finally a high school graduate, a college graduate with my associate’s degree, and an accepted student on her way to a four year degree and beyond – a feat that could not have happened in the absence of these programs. None of this would have been possible without the tireless and often thankless work you have all dedicated your lives to. Thank you for giving me a chance, for seeing something in me that I couldn’t see in myself, for always encouraging me to embrace my story rather than hide it, and to always question “the norm.”


If there is anything I have taken away from all of you, it is this sentiment that I will now pass on to any student in the audience who is unhappy with where they are in school, or feels like they’re seen as nothing more than a number: Do not be afraid to be the only voice willing to question common practice. Because in many cases, the practices we have accepted as common and “the norm” are in fact the obstacles they claim to be averting. Do not be afraid to stand up, even if you are standing alone. You are more than what this system has predetermined you to be. Take that, and run with it.


And run with this:


In a system where over 1 million students will drop out of high school next year, where over 3.2 million students will be the victim of bullying while in school, where 1 out of every 4 students will exhibit the symptoms of mental illness as the result of chronic stress, and where 32% of traditional high school graduates in 2011 chose to not pursue higher education, but 73% of Gateway to College graduates did, allow my story, and the story of every Gateway to College graduate in this theater, across this State, throughout this country, past, present, and future be a testament to the idea that maybe, the problem is not with the student.
Thank you all so much, and congratulations to the class of 2017.




Student Spotlight: Teresa's 2017 Graduation Speech, Quinsigamond Community College

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

We finally did it! Can we give ourselves one more big round of applause? I look around this room and see so many strong and amazing individuals. Gateway gave us all the chance to show the world – and those who wrote us off as failures and drop outs – that we are so much more. I started Gateway when I had just turned 16. I still remember orientation; I was so scared. I had no idea what I was about to walk into. I sat down at the table with everyone else, and from there my adventure began.


Gateway became my home, and all of you and those before some of you became my family. We all work together, eat together and even take naps in the halls together. The three wonderful women who run this program will always hold a special place in our hearts: Marci, Jenna, Vanessa and now Glenda. You ladies help us know we can do so much more. You encouraged us, gave us tough love when needed, but most importantly you believed in all of us.
Everyone comes to Gateway for different reasons. Look around this room and everyone here has a different past and different struggles, but what we all have in common is we wanted more out of our situation. For me, I'm here because I was diagnosed with a chronic illness that causes me to be in pain every day for the rest of my life. My illness stopped me from attending school, being with friends and doing anything that I enjoyed. I thought my life was over. I knew that I couldn't just sit around and let this pain ruin my future, so my mom helped me make that first step and here I am now. I graduated from both high school and college, and I’m only 18.


For whatever reason you’re here, be proud of yourself for making that first step and everything that followed. A quote from Robert Frost that I’ve always held dear in my heart states, "Accept no one's definition of your life. Define yourself." Through Gateway I have found myself. I have made lifelong friendships, memories that I hope will last me a lifetime, and opportunities I never thought I would get.


I have been in Gateway for almost three years and in that time so much has happened. For those who haven't been here as long, I hope Gateway changed your life for the better as it did mine. I would like to thank my mom and dad for always being there for me and supporting me. You guys are truly the best. I'd like to thank Marci for her passion and dedication.


Marci, you work hard to make sure everything runs smoothly and we all have what we need to be successful. Thank you for that. I then want to thank Jenna for her kind heart yet tough love. Jenna, you have listened to me, and I’m sure all of us at one point, complain about something going wrong or when things are hard. You always know what to do and show us to do it for ourselves. You have made a difference in my life, and I would like to thank you for that. Vanessa, I miss you so much!! I would like to say thank you for always being there when emotions ran high or low. You are a beautiful person who also has impacted my life. From all of our office conversation and laughs, you helped me through a lot. Glenda, I may have never truly got to know you, but from what I hear you are doing a great job. Thank you for all you do. Lastly I would like to thank all of you graduates. You have made my Gateway experience amazing. I am so thankful to have met all of you.


Congratulations class of 2017, we did it!!!

GtCNN Hosts Jobs and Career Fair for PCC Gateway Students

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Oregon’s unemployment rate is at a record low 3.5%, and the state economy is performing well. For 16 to 24-year-olds who are not in school, however, the unemployment rate in Oregon is 12.8%. For each of these “Opportunity Youth”, the direct cost to taxpayers (government spending on crime, health care, and welfare, as well as loss in tax revenue) is $13,900 each year. A 2015 report from the Cowan Institute details this. With 58,000 Opportunity Youth statewide, the cost to Oregon taxpayers is around $815 million a year.


On May 5, 2017, Gateway to College National Network (GtCNN) hosted our first Jobs and Career Fair, for students in the Gateway to College program at Portland Community College. While technically not Opportunity Youth, the students in the Gateway program were at one point out of school or in danger of dropping out. The fair was conceived and developed in partnership with a team from Leadership Portland, an initiative of the Portland Business Alliance. At the fair, nearly 75 Gateway to College students met with representatives from 23 Portland-area companies to talk about job, internship, and mentorship opportunities, as well as information on careers and career pathways. More than 15 students were able to directly apply to jobs at the fair.


In providing a dual enrollment opportunity and wraparound support, Gateway to College offers students a second chance at success. The Jobs and Career Fair will further ensure that these students will contribute to the economic strength of Oregon. More importantly, the interest and engagement among employers who attended the fair showed these students that their community believes in them.

In large part because of the success of the May 5 fair, GtCNN is now beginning discussions with regional partners to hold a significantly larger jobs fair in 2018 for all Opportunity Youth in our region. In Portland, 16.1% of 16 to 24-year-olds are out of school and not working, the 8th highest rate among the largest 50 cities in the country. Portland-area employers need a pipeline of workers, and its young people need jobs and pathways to careers. GtCNN envisions next year’s Jobs and Career Fair to offer a focus on specific job opportunities, and to help prepare students for a future job search (via resume and cover letter preparation, practice interviews, etc.) and careers.


GtCNN sends heartfelt thanks to the following organizations and individuals who contributed to the May Jobs and Career Fair:


Leadership Portland Team
John Ducker, Columbia Sportswear
Waleed R. Sadruddin, Kaiser Permanente
Steve Lesky, Cambia Health Solutions
Ian Christy, Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP
Christine Vrontakis, SAIF Corporation
Kindra Skrydlak, Pacific Continental Bank
GtCNN Jobs and Career Fair Companies:
Neil Kelly Company
Portland State University
Airway Science for Kids, Inc.
Umpqua Bank
US Bank
BankWork$/SE Works
Moda Health
Oregon Health & Science University
Kaiser Permanente
SAIF Corporation
Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP
Silicon Forest Electronics
Cornell Pump
Oregon Story Board
Transportation Security Administration
Columbia Sportswear
Portland Parks and Recreation
Salt & Straw
Food Front Cooperative


GtCNN Announces Request for Applications to Launch Three New Gateway Programs

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Gateway to College National Network is proud to announce a Request for Applications (RFA) for a new round of funding and technical assistance to launch three new Gateway to College programs in New England. Gateway to College is an innovative early college program based on partnerships between colleges and K-12 school districts. Gateway to College National Network (GtCNN) invites applications from colleges, school districts, and charter schools across New England to replicate the program, beginning to serve students in fall of 2018.


Early college and similar dual enrollment partnerships are increasingly being recognized across the region as excellent strategies to increase college readiness and postsecondary matriculation for first-generation and low-income students. And, at the same time, many communities and states have established priorities to re-engage disconnected or ‘opportunity’ youth.[1] As these two key movements gain traction in New England, GtCNN is eager to assist new communities address both priorities with one effective, sustainable program model.


Mount Wachusett Community College (Gardner, Mass.) launched the first New England-based Gateway to College program in 2006 and since that time, the program has expanded statewide, providing the only early college option to out-of-school and off-track high school students in the region. Currently , six communities in Massachusetts offer the Gateway to College program as an opportunity for struggling school students to return to education through a college-based program. However, with more than 160,000 disconnected youth in New England, additional programs are needed.


Thanks to generous support from the Barr Foundation, GtCNN is poised to double the number of communities in New England offering this program by 2018. Through this application, communities will receive $150,000 in funding for planning and initial program start-up costs as well as no-cost training, coaching, and technical assistance from GtCNN during an 18-month planning and implementation period.


Gateway to College programs, once they are serving students, are sustainable through local partnerships, leveraging K-12 per-pupil funding and the facilities of postsecondary institutions to deliver supportive, high-quality, alternative pathways to young people who are unlikely to achieve success in traditional high schools.


Applications are due June 30 and information about the RFA, supplemental materials, and upcoming webinars can be found at http://www.gatewaytocollege.org/new-england-rfa.html.


About Gateway to College National Network

GtCNN is a national college-based dual enrollment program for off-track and out-of-school youth. A national organization that designs and supports programs and initiatives aimed at building pathways for disconnected youth to earn a high school diploma and meaningful college credential, GtCNN is the national leader in bridging the aspiration and attainment gap for our most vulnerable young people.


Gateway to College New England

With the addition of a Gateway program at Roger Williams University in Providence RI and at North Shore Community College in 2017, Gateway to College in New England will serve more than 600 students in eight communities: Brockton (Massasoit Community College); Central Massachusetts (Mount Wachusett Community College and Quinsigamond Community College); the South Coast (Bristol Community College, Fall River); the Pioneer Valley (Holyoke Community College and Springfield Technical College)

[1] Opportunity youth are young people between the ages of 16 and 25 who are neither in school nor working.

Annual Report 2016: ReConnect Oregon, a fundraiser supporting GtCNN

Friday, April 07, 2017


GtCNN’s inaugural fundraiser brought together community leaders, Gateway ambassadors, and alumni to support the important work we do in Oregon, raising nearly $40,000 toward our mission.



In Oregon, GtCNN’s home state, the graduation rate is one of the lowest in the nation. This sobering statistic leaves many Oregonians wondering what works to reengage students and how we can ensure all students are graduating prepared for college and career. Re:Connect Oregon, GtCNN’s inaugural fundraiser, served as an introduction to one existing strategy for reengaging students left behind in our education system. Our core program, Gateway to College, has reengaged thousands of students in Oregon through a partnership between Portland Community College and surrounding school districts, and has been replicated in communities across the country.


“For every $100 raised, Gateway to College can raise an additional $1100 in public support,” GtCNN President Emily Froimson said.


President Froimson addressed the education challenges Oregon faces, sharing that students from low-income families graduate at a much lower rate than their peers. Gateway to College and the PCC-based PDX Bridge program aim to serve Oregon’s most vulnerable youth.


Throughout our brief history, Gateway to College has been able to expand and grow because of the dedicated work and service of so many individuals. The board chose to establish the GtCNN Distinguished Leader Award as a way to recognize one of those leaders each year. Nan Poppe, GtCNN board member, recognized Laurel Dukehart, GtCNN’s former president and founder, as the inaugural recipient of the award. Glenn Fee announced the Ambassador Award winner, Jay Schmidt of Silicon Forest Electronics, for his continued support and commitment to GtCNN.


Three alumni shared their stories during the event, reminding the audience of the direct impact of Gateway’s work. Alexander, a Gateway graduate of 2015 and Ambassador Council member, was encouraged to apply to the program by a neighbor who happened to work for Gateway. It was through the encouragement and support he received from this mentor that compelled him to mentor other young people.


Erikka Potts, Gateway graduate of 2014, currently serves on the steering committee for GtCNN’s collaborative initiative PDX Bridge, a program serving youth who have experienced homelessness, the justice system, or foster care. As a foster youth herself, Erikka is passionate about giving back to her “foster care brothers and sisters” to help them pursue education. Her own education was derailed due to substance abuse in her family; through Gateway to College, she found the supports needed to finish her high school diploma and get into college.


Keynote speaker Kendra Johnson graduated Gateway to College at PCC in 2003 and has been pursuing education regardless of personal and academic obstacles ever since. Upon graduation from Gateway, Kendra enrolled in the University of Oregon, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Family and Human Services. She continued her education at the University of Portland, receiving a Master of Social Work degree. Kendra is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, a community service organization led by African American college-educated women that is continually leading effective advocacy and social change for equality and equity for all. She currently serves the Portland area as Director of Youth and Family Services at Impact Northwest. It was her experience in Gateway where she found a community of support to overcome challenges, and she called for more support for the program so other young people can find their path.


“As you heard from those three incredible Gateway Graduates, there is no single type of student who becomes disconnected to their education,” said Richard Greensted, Gateway Ambassador. “For some, their school environment is not safe. For others, family obligations make it difficult to attend school. Sometimes, a school just isn’t a good fit, and there are few alternatives.”


Richard made a personal financial commitment to the organization, before encouraging fellow event attendees to raise their paddles in support of our work. We are so thankful for the support of our sponsors and donors in making this first fundraiser a success.


Sponsors: Alaska Airlines, Huron Consulting, Kaiser Permanente, Northwest Bank, Silicon Forest Electronics, Umpqua Bank


Our next Re:Connect Oregon event will be held on November 3rd, 2017. To learn about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Hanna Lounsbury, Development and Events Coordinator, at 971-634-1527.



Partner Login