Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow
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Number of locations
|Sunset Park, Bushwick, Bedford–Stuyvesant Williamsburg Jamaica, Mott Haven
|Randolph Peers (Chief Executive Officer)|
Number of employees
Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT) is a nonprofit with locations in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, New York. OBT's mission is to educate, train, and support those who are at risk, helping them to acquire the personal and professional skills they need to achieve rewarding employment, self-sufficiency, and productive futures. In 2013, OBT partnered with the YMCA of Greater New York in the creation of Y Roads Centers. In 2014, OBT was named to the S&I’s list of the 100 most effective organizations by the Social Impact Exchange.
- 1 History
- 2 Services
- 3 References
- 4 External links
Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow was founded in 1983 by Sister Mary Franciscus, RSM, to provide job training to the at-risk youth of Sunset Park. OBT began in a rundown storefront with the support of a small government contract. By 1992, additional public and private support allowed the organization to move into a larger building in the same vicinity. At this time, OBT launched a job training program for adults and started a support program for graduates. Eventually, daytime and evening remedial education programs were also added. In 2001, the organization expanded its youth program by opening a second location, OBT North, in the Bushwick/Bedford–Stuyvesant sections of Brooklyn. In 2002, OBT won a PEPnet Builder award "for their commitment to continuous improvement" in working with youth. In 2006, after the untimely passing of Sr. Mary, OBT hired Randolph Peers, formerly Vice President of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, as the new Chief Executive Officer. In 2013 Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow partnered with the YMCA of Greater New York to open Y Roads centers across New York City. The first Y Roads center opened in Jamaica, Queens in 2013 to provide the disconnected youth in the Jamaica community with education, job training, and support services.  A second Y Roads center opened in Mott Haven, Bronx in October 2014. In July 2015, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow intends to officially merge with the The Maura Clarke-Ita Ford Center (MCIF), which has been operating out of OBT’s Bushwick Workforce Resource Center (BWRC) since September 2014.
Youth Education and Job Training
OBT’s service model is unique among youth programs due to its comprehensive scope of training and its emphasis on personal discipline. The youth training model is an intensive 20-week program that includes high school equivalency classes (if needed), business math, business English, office procedures, computer classes (MS Office), public speaking and communications, and a world-of-work module. A simulated real work environment is an integral part of the entire curriculum. Participants are required to punch in and out on a time clock each day, dress professionally, and are given work assignments with timelines for completion. Excessive lateness and absenteeism result in the participants being “terminated” from the program. Students that successfully complete the 20-weeks emerge with a high school equivalency diploma and the skills necessary to obtain and retain employment. Most of OBT's job placements are clerical and administrative office related positions in financial services firms, law firms, government, and other related businesses. OBT's overall job placement percentage averages about 72% annually. One fifth of OBT's graduates also go on to enroll in college. The Youth Education and Job Training program is available at OBT’s locations in Sunset Park and Williamsburg/Bushwick in Brooklyn; Jamaica, Queens; and Mott Haven, Bronx
Young Adult Internship Program
The Young Adult Internship Program is a 14-week job training and internship program available to young adults, ages 17 – 24, who live in New York City with preference given to those who live in the neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Bedford–Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, and Bushwick in Brooklyn and in Jamaica, Queens. The interns participate in five weeks of intensive business skills training followed an eleven-week paid internship. OBT's internship sites include: the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, New York State and New York City government offices, Weeksville Heritage Center, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Vernon Avenue Children's School, and Woodhull Medical Center.
Medical Administrative Assistant
The Medical Administrative Assistant Training Program provides youth, ages 17–21, with experience and training to have a successful career in the medical field. Participants receive training in medical terminology, communications, customer service and basic bookkeeping. Participants also receive a Medical Administrative Assistant Certification through the National Healthcareer Association and an internship in a hospital or doctor’s office.
Anchoring Achievement in Mexican Communities
In 2013, OBT started an initiative specifically targeting youth in the Mexican community in Bushwick, Brooklyn to help improve retention in high school and help Mexican youth continue on to college. In partnership with Churches United for Fair Housing, and Academy of Urban Planning (AUP). OBT runs the Growing Responsibly through Ownership and Willingness (GROW) program at St. Joseph Patron church, and the Anchor Up program at AUP. Each program meets once a week, in an effort to increase personal and professional development in its participants through career and college exploration and recreational activities including soccer, music, and art (at GROW).
Leading to Success
In 2014, as part of the Cure Violence initiative by the New York City Mayor’s Office and Councilman Jumaane Williams, who is a Co-Chair of the New York City Council’s Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow launched their Leading to Success Program in conjunction with other community groups including Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes (G.M.A.C.C.), Sesame Flyers, and East Flatbush Village and leaders in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. The program is an evidence-based public health approach, which identifies and engages individuals most likely to be involved in gun violence and deploys interventions aimed at curbing that behavior before it occurs, including retaliatory shootings. The initiative combines six city agencies and organizations to work with violence interrupters and mediators as well as provide rap around community-based preventive services. This month-long program for community members, ages 16–21, provides job skills training, resume help, and job placement assistance or college access assistance. OBT will also provide services for community members up to the age of 30, which will include job placement assistance.
Adult Employment and Training
The adult employment and training program is expected to provide over 3,000 adults per year with the training and assistance in obtaining a new or better paying job. The services are open to people from all stages in their career, whether they are unemployed, underemployed, on public assistance, or a veteran. Recognizing that each jobseeker has individual needs, OBT’s employment team tailors a unique service plan that may include business skills training, resume development, or job placement support. Out of the BWRC, OBT also offers classes to become a certified Microsoft Office Specialist.
The Adult Literacy Program offers free English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes in the Bushwick, Bedford–Stuyvesant, and Sunset Park communities each year. OBT supports students with a range of services including training in employment skills, and job placement services. OBT also offers High School Equivalency and Pre-High School Equivalency classes to adults at its Bushwick and Sunset Park locations.
Office of New Americans
OBT’s Office for New Americans located at the Bushwick Workforce Resource Center exists to provide New Yorkers with free services for the immigration applications such as Naturalization, Renewal of Green Card, Certificate of Citizenship, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, as well as referrals to other no or low-cost immigration services throughout the city. ONA also offers entrepreneurship classes taught in Spanish.
- YMCA Opening Massive Center to Help 'Disconnected' Youth in Jamaica , DNAInfo, April 1, 2013
- YMCA Launches Program for Disconnected Youth in The Bronx , DNAInfo, October 30, 2014
- Merger Recalls Slain Maryknoll Nuns , The Tablet, November 29, 2014
- OBT Graduates More Than 50 Youth from Young Adult Internship Program, , March 6, 2015
- "WILLIAMS STANDS WITH PARENTS OF RECENT 15-YEAR-OLD GUN VIOLENCE VICTIM & COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS DURING ANTI-GUN VIOLENCE RALLY"
- "S&I 100 List" Social Impact Exchange
- "Job Training for Kids," Courier Life Publications
- "Paving the way for a better Tomorrow, OBT gives tall salute to outstanding trio of Executives in the community," Courier Life Publications
- "Helping Create a Better Tomorrow," Courier Life Publications
- "Teens train for Tomorrowmany gain the skills needed for careers," Courier Life Publications.
- "Sister Mary Franciscus Way Debuts," Courier Life Publications
- "Sister Mary Franciscus Way: Street Renaming in Sunset Park," Brooklyn Eagle.
- "New Paths Of Opportunity For Immigrants in New York" Gotham Gazette.