On June 4 we’ll be joining our friends and colleagues at Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow at their annual Summer Soiree as they reflect on 30 years of innovation in successfully preparing young adults for jobs in corporate settings. OBT focuses on young adults who find it hardest to find work: those who are neither working nor in school, and who have neither a high school diploma nor any real-world work experience. Their innovative model was recognized most recently last week when Mayor Bloomberg announced OBT was a semi-finalist in NYC Center for Economic Opportunity’s first-ever NYC Innovative Nonprofit Awards. Read more about them—and the competition—here.

OBT is also celebrating their expansion from Brooklyn into Queens this month, and Public Works is proud to have helped them to do this. In 2010, OBT saw an opportunity to expand its model, but they wanted to consider carefully the options for increasing their impact. Should they provide a wider range of services to their existing clients? Or move into new neighborhoods? Maybe new cities? As part of an overall strategic plan, Public Works Partners consulted experts, funders and other service providers to compile evidence of need in different neighborhoods. We then created a framework and decision-making tool that has allowed OBT’s board to assess opportunities for expansion with a clear sense of the challenges and promises of various options.

As a result, OBT has teamed up with the YWCA of Greater New York to launch at its Jamaica facility the first Y Roads Initiative. The 20-week job-training program integrates GED preparation with daily classes in which young adults learn business skills and receiving academic training in a vocational context. It extends OBT’s successful model of developing motivation and personal accountability among youth in a highly disciplined setting.

With OBT’s youth program expansion in such an exciting phase, Public Works is excited to be working with them again, this time to strengthen their adult programs.

Here’s to another 30 years of increasing impact and opportunity!

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