Vancouver, WA – With ever-increasing pressure placed upon middle and high school students to succeed in school and continue immediately into college, a local organization is working with students and schools to help pupils learn about various educational and career opportunities available to them following graduation.

nConnect, a Vancouver-based nonprofit housed in the Educational Service District 112 office, has been working with classes and programs in the Evergreen and Vancouver school districts by bringing in community members to discuss their career and educational experiences, as well as having volunteers share valuable insights and guidance with the students. The organization has helped students learn important soft skills such as resume writing, interviewing, and networking—things that are usually not taught in school but are key to future success.

Through recent events at Pacific and Cascade Middle Schools, volunteers from organizations such as Adidas, Clark College, Maul Foster, Hewlett-Packard, Washington State University Vancouver, and Silicon Forest participated in panel discussions in which students were exposed to career opportunities they were previously unfamiliar with. Students enrolled in the Jobs for America’s Graduates program at Columbia River High School have been provided the opportunity to practice interviewing and received critique on their resumes with professionals from PeaceHealth, Kyocera, and WorkSource. They also learned how current coursework—especially math and science—plays a role in their future success. Part of nConnect’s mission is to demonstrate to students how STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) knowledge and skills are in high-demand by industries throughout the region, as well as how such can be applied to a variety of jobs.

Following an event at Pacific Middle School, one student stated that they had learned that it “takes time to get things you want because you have to work for it,” and that people “just can’t get it and things in life take time to get done.” Another felt more confident about their future, saying they had learned “not to freak out when we get our job. [The volunteers] told us that once you choose a job you will have to study but it’s not scary at all.”

nConnect is excited to continue working with local schools, as well as a few others across the river in Portland, as the year continues. Individuals interested in volunteering with the organization can contact Matthew Goosen, nConnect’s coordinator, at (360) 952-3609 or via e-mail at