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Image by Tyler Casey

Career Bridge

Career Bridge has been helping bridge the gap between youth and their future careers for over 10 years. Career Bridge has prepared over 500 youth through comprehensive workforce training that focuses on both soft and hard skills, mentoring, coaching, and paid internships.


Career Bridge as an idea was founded  by Margena Wade-Green (one of our founding Board Members) while she was working at Cal Trans as a community and educational outreach manager. In 2013 she was recruited to start this program at Children Rising an oakland non-profit serving children in Oakland. their founder Randy Roth recruited Margena to leave cal trans to come work there and develop the career bridge program. 

Since the inception of Catalyst Youth Network we have had a strategic partnership with the Children Rising and in particular the Career Bridge Program. In the Summer of 2023 the 10 year anniversary of Career Bridge, Catalyst has taken over the running and administration of the program. 

Helping increase economic opportunity has always been a core focus of Catalyst Youth Network. We are incredibly excited to continue to carry the baton and honor the legacy and vision of Career Bridge. 

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Youth Center Pilot Metrics

We launched our pilot Youth Center in a temporary space in November 2022 for one day a week. At the students request we opened up for a second day in early March.

We did not advertise the Youth Center at all so all growth has been word of mouth. 

56 Total Students

56 Teenagers have walked through the doors Since November

19 Students Week

We have averaged 19 students a week

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6 New Student

Average of 6 new students each week 

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4 Schools

Our youth have come from 4 different schools in West Oakland.

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4 Student Interns

We recruited 4 students to become paid interns, to help run the center

What the Youth are Saying!

Vision for a Permanent Space

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Why a Youth Center?

Catalyst Youth Network has been serving the youth of Oakland for 2 years now. We have worked with over 60 students both virtually and in the classroom through provided resources, training, mentoring, and internships.


Our youth have expressed how discouraged and disconnected they feel due to the current social and economic landscape they face. Members of our Youth Advisory Board have stated the need for a space where they can “feel safe, do homework, learn new skills, relax, socialize with positive peers and mentors, and gain new experiences.


Catalyst Youth Center will provide a physical space designed for youth that will exponentially increase the impact of our current programs—allowing us to enhance and expand the ways in which we serve the youth of Oakland. It will function as a safe and engaging space where kids want to be, and a place where they’ll have access to the services and resources they need.​

Project Phases

PHASE 1: $300K

  • LOCATION: Lease, Cleanup, Renovations and Furnishings.

  • STAFF: Recruiting, Hiring, and Ongoing Training.

  • PROGRAMMING: Youth center will include our current programs (jobs skills workshops, career coaching, and mentoring) and will also enable us to add a computer lab, tutoring, on-site mentors, financial health coaching, and social events.


PHASE 2: $200K

  • Will expand to include a food pantry, mental health resources, life coaching, a full art studio, and more.

Why Now?

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, teenagers have been feeling more disconnected and disengaged than ever. In 2019, one in ten Oakland youth (aged 16-19) were not enrolled in school or employed in a job. The number is now one in six. Two-thirds of youth do not participate in any positive after-school programs or sports.

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Map of Youth Spaces in Oakland

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There are some great nonprofit organizations providing spaces focused on serving the youth of East Oakland. However, the last youth center serving West Oakland closed in 2016. We want to help fill that void.

Invest in Catalyst Youth Center Today!

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