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Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT)

Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow is a nonprofit located in Brooklyn, 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 2002, OBT won a PEPnet Builder award "for their commitment to continuous improvement" in working with youth.

History

Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT) was founded in 1983 by Sister Mary Franciscus, RSM, to provide job training to the at-risk youth of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. 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 three-story 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/Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn. 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 executive director.

Youth Employment and 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 GED 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. For example, students 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 student being “terminated” from the program. Students that successfully complete the 20-weeks emerge with a high school diploma and the skills necessary to obtain and retain employment. Most of OBT's job placements are white-collar office related positions in financial services firms, law firms, government, and other related businesses. OBT's overall job placement percentage averages about 87% annually. A percentage of OBT's graduates also go on to enroll in college.

Adult Employment and Training

The adult employment and training program is expected to provide over 100 adults per year with the training and assistance in getting a new or better job. The program is open to people from all stages in their career, whether they are unemployed, underemployed, on public assistance, or an ex-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.

Opportunity Knocks

Opportunity Knocks provides paid training and internships to young adults, ages 17 - 24, living the Williamsburg and Bushwick communities in Brooklyn. The interns go through three weeks of intensive business skills training followed an eleven week internship. OBT's internship sites include: the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce , TMI Food Group , Catalyst , Vernon Avenue Children's School , and Woodhull Medical Center

Adult Literacy

The Adult Literacy Program offers free English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes to over 250 adults in the Bushwick/Bed-Stuy and Sunset Park, Brooklyn community each year. OBT supports students with a range of services including: counseling, training in employment skills, and job placement services.

External links

  • Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow Official Website
  • "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 “Tomorrow” many 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.
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