PDX Bridge, Program to Support College Achievement for Young People in State Care, is Launched

Wednesday, September 07, 2016


Contact: Glenn Fee

Associate Vice President, External Relations



PORTLAND, Ore., September 6, 2016 – Gateway to College National Network (GtCNN), a Portland-based nonprofit, announces the launch of PDX Bridge, a partnership to provide a bridge from high school to college completion for some of Oregon’s most vulnerable youth.

Through PDX Bridge, GtCNN will convene state agencies, school districts and nonprofit partners to provide Portland-area foster, juvenile justice, and homeless youth a bridge from high school to and through college. By focusing efforts on our community’s most vulnerable youth, PDX Bridge will simultaneously help address the state’s low college-going rates and a gap in educational equity.

Oregon has one of the lowest college-going rates of recent high school graduates, exacerbating the state’s rank of 47th in the nation in on-time high school graduation. Young people in state care fare particularly poorly, having among the lowest postsecondary enrollment and completion rates of any group. Nationally, only 10% of foster youth enroll in postsecondary education, and only 3% obtain a postsecondary credential, compared to 40% of their peers. GtCNN President, Emily Froimson, on why this program is so important to our region: “Portland cannot meet its educational and workforce needs while leaving our most vulnerable youth behind. Our community needs a ‘bridge’ to link our existing resources and provide youth in foster care, the juvenile justice system, or experiencing homelessness with clear supportive pathways from high school to college and career success.”

PDX Bridge connects students in state care with the wraparound support needed to enroll in college and successfully complete their first year, a predictor of future college success. This fall, eight partner agencies across Multnomah County will recruit youth to participate as the initial cohort of 25 dual enrollment students. An additional 25 students will enroll in the spring, with an eventual enrollment of 100 students each year. Students will be enrolled at Portland Community College, and will receive coaching services as part of the college’s Future Connect program.

The foundation community – led by gifts from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, The Collins Foundation, and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund – has recognized the need to support underserved youth, and has contributed $205,000 in support of the program launch. “Gateway to College has a proven track record helping each student find a pathway to postsecondary education. We are happy to support PDX Bridge and provide access to important educational supports for homeless and underserved students in state care,” shared Martha Richards, executive director of the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation.

On September 15, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., GtCNN will host its latest Gateway Gathering, a series of discussions aimed at examining educational challenges for vulnerable youth in Portland. The September 15 Gathering, to be held at the Northwest Health Foundation in Portland, will feature four students from PDX Bridge partner organizations, who will share the obstacles they overcame in completing high school and getting on track to a meaningful postsecondary credential.

About Gateway to College National Network 

Gateway to College National Network supports communities in building sustainable pathways for disconnected youth (former high school dropouts) to a high school diploma and a meaningful college credential. GtCNN was founded at Portland Community College in 2000, and now supports 39 programs in 21 states around the country.  www.gatewaytocollege.org, @gtcnn

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