PDX Bridge propels Portland area foster, juvenile justice, and homeless youth onto a pathway from high school to and through college.


Gateway to College National Network (GtCNN) is convening state agencies, public school districts, and alternative secondary education programs in this collaborative project to provide these students a comprehensive bridge from high school to first-year college completion. Oregon stands 47th in the nation in on-time high school graduation, and college-going rates of the state’s high school graduates are among the lowest in the nation. By focusing our efforts on Portland’s most vulnerable youth, GtCNN will address a critical state issue: educational equity. This project will serve traditionally underserved youth, such as students of color, those from low-income families, and English language learners, so all Portland youth can thrive.


Young people in state care are far less likely to enroll in college, and those who do are less likely to finish without individualized support.


These vulnerable young people need a network of caring adults, increased preparation in the college environment, and the know-how to take advantage of the many organizations in Portland designed to serve them.


Youth in state care are a community responsibility.


According to Children First of Oregon’s 2015 report, there are 3,066 children in foster care, 5,798 homeless children, and 3,366 adjudicated youth in the Portland area. Our project partner programs serve 513 foster, 1,330 homeless, and 283 adjudicated youth, for a total 2,126 students per year. The majority (1,830) of these students are in alternative education and few experience postsecondary success. Homeless youth and those in the juvenile justice system are so underserved that there are few reliable statistics reporting their college-going rates. Nationally, only 10% of foster youth enroll in postsecondary education and only 3% ob­tain a postsecondary credential, compared to 40% of their peers. By focusing on young people in state care, we can make a real impact on Oregon’s high graduation and college-going rates, and do so in a manner that addresses a current lack of equity.


How PDX Bridge Works


PDX Bridge connects students in state care with the wraparound support needed to lead a successful life. This collaborative effort provides students the highest quality support during either a College or Apprenticeship Pathway.


A Network of Caring Adults Support Bridge Youth Throughout PDX Bridge

Bridge Youth receive personalized support from coaches, their secondary counselors, teachers, and case managers. This same network of caring adults stays with students throughout their progress in PDX Bridge, helping them overcome challenges inside and outside the classroom.

Apprenticeship Pathway


Career Readiness

Enhanced Preparation

During high school, Bridge Youth work with their network of caring adults to create a transition plan into Portland YouthBuilder’s Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Training (CPAT) program.


Bridge to the Workforce

Industry-Recognized Credential

Bridge Youth engage in a three-month work experience which results in a pre-apprenticeship credential.


Work Experience

Bridge Youth will focus on a specialty of their choice while learning all facets of construction and gaining hands-on experience.


Professional Mentorship

Bridge Youth will work full shifts alongside and under the mentorship of seasoned industry professionals.



Preferred Apprenticeship Placement

Upon CPAT completion, Bridge Youth apply for a paid apprenticeship program in their focus area, resulting in a journeyman’s credential.

College Pathway


College Readiness

Enhanced Preparation

During high school, Bridge Youth work with their network of caring adults to develop the personal and academic skills to succeed in the college setting.


Bridge to College

Dual Enrollment

In their last year in high school, Bridge Youth complete two dual enrollment courses at Portland Community College, under PCC coaches’ guidance.


College Experience

Bridge Youth visit college campuses and have an opportunity to ask questions and explore their postsecondary options first-hand.


Peer Mentorship

Bridge students will have the opportunity to meet with and learn from other college-going students from state care.


College Enrollment

College Success Coaching

Bridge Youth receive structured coaching as they attend college full-time as first-year students at Portland Community College.

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