We believe that everyone who is willing to work hard deserves an opportunity to succeed.
Unfortunately, too many of our neighbors face barriers to employment such as a lack of skills or confidence that they cannot overcome on their own. They need training and support to break the cycle of low-wage jobs and public assistance.
Opportunity Junction helps low-income Contra Costa residents get and keep good jobs by providing training, support, experience, and employer introductions.
When we work together, motivated job seekers get what they need to launch a career. Their success makes their families and our community stronger.
Read our FY2018-19 Annual Report and Audit or jump to Impact Programs History Mission and Values
Impact is an Opportunity Junction core value. We are committed to seeking ever better data to assess our impact, evaluate the effectiveness of program changes, surface differential results based on demographics that may raise equity concerns, and identify areas for inquiry.
Internal Impact Evaluation: We track all enrollment, participation, and outcomes data in a highly-customized Salesforce database. Separate employment records track hire and exit dates, compensation, hours, benefits, employer, whether a position is temporary or not, and job title. We track the date, for each alum, when that data was last verified. We seek verification every three months for at least 18 months post-placement, with automated reports so staff know whom to contact.
External Impact Evaluation: We also value external evaluation of our impact and are a pioneer in using anonymized batch wage data from the California Employment Development Department in assessing long-term impact.
External discussion or validation of our impact may be found here:
- We are proud to be listed as a Top 10 Poverty-Fighting Organization nationally in the ImpactMatters ratings that are based on impact (quantified as Return on Investment), with a full 5-star organization profile here.
- Our Healthcare Career Pathway partnership is the subject of the John Muir Health Community Health Fund 2019 Impact Update.
- Our Administrative Careers Training Program is highlighted in the MDRC-authored, James Irvine Foundation funded report, Beyond the Basics: Integrating Workforce and College-Readiness Training Into California's Adult Basic Skills Programs.
We are also pleased to be a 2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit on GreatNonprofits.org and to have earned a 2019 Platinum Seal of Transparency from Guidestar.org.
Core Programs Specifically for Job Seekers:
- Administrative Careers Training Program: Prepares job seekers for administrative careers leading to self-sufficiency through computer and life skills training, paid work experience, case management, career counseling, placement assistance, and long-term alumni services.
- Road Map for 18- to 24-Year Olds: Helps low-income, vulnerable young adults, ages 18 to 24, obtain employment through access to short-term training opportunities and/or placement into jobs. Supports include one-on-one career counseling to develop career goals, bi-weekly group meetings where youth develop professional competencies, and activities to develop job search skills.
- Career Counseling and Placement Assistance: Provides career development, case management, and job placement services in Antioch, in Pittsburg at Los Medanos College, and in Bay Point as part of SparkPoint Contra Costa.
- Healthcare Career Pathway: Provides Certified Nursing Assistant training, both in the classroom and in nursing facilities, as well as social support services and ongoing support for life and career advancement for careers in medical professions, in partnership with Mt. Diablo Adult Education and Ombudsman Services of Contra Costa and Solano Counties.
Additional Programs to Serve Low-Income Residents:
Founded in 1999 Opportunities for Technology Information Careers (OPTIC) was the brainchild of Meryl Natchez, then CEO of TechProse, who was also chair of the Technology Task Force of the Contra Costa Council (now the East Bay Leadership Council). Natchez saw a need for workers with strong technology and workplace skills. At the same time, Welfare Reform mandated that aid recipients move from welfare to full-time employment. Natchez felt the technology sector held the promise of true economic self-sufficiency for these individuals. The founding Board, a collaboration of the private sector, government, and educators, developed a Job Training and Placement Program based on best practices in workforce development, with a focus on computer skills. In February 2000, OPTIC incorporated and began its work, continued and expanded today as Opportunity Junction.
Driven by the fundamental belief that everyone who is willing to work hard deserves an opportunity to succeed, our mission is "to fight poverty by helping low-income Contra Costa residents gain the skills and confidence to get and keep jobs that support themselves and their families."
Our entire community has a stake in the success of our job seekers. When our graduates launch careers, they are better able to meet their own needs and the needs of their families. Children raised in economically secure homes have fewer barriers to success. As our alumni grow in their careers, they have the resources to make the community stronger through their civic participation and volunteerism. Likewise, our entire community has a role to play in the success of our job seekers. We collaborate with other local agencies to develop more comprehensive and effective programs. We are supported by volunteers and local employers. And local residents, foundations, corporations, and government agencies provide the funding that allows us to offer our comprehensive programs. We cherish this entire network of relationships.
The highest form of service is to help our fellow human beings develop the capacity to provide for themselves, nurture their families, and give back to the community. This capacity is within each of us, and none of us succeeds alone. Opportunity Junction has an important role in supporting the growth of our job seekers’ capacity: we empower them to succeed in the employment market and in their careers. This means building on their strengths, helping them overcome barriers, and providing them with the experience and feedback that helps them build personal and professional confidence.
We exist for the purpose of having a long-term impact on the careers of our job seekers so that they achieve self-sustaining employment. While some aspects of our work are hard to quantify – the effect of trauma on a particular job seeker, for example – the outcomes of our work are quantifiable and measurable. We are committed to gathering data to assess our impact, evaluate the effectiveness of program changes, explore equity considerations, and identify areas for inquiry. We value creativity and diverse perspectives, including the perspectives of our alumni, to help us achieve and improve our impact.
This work succeeds only if we are unflinchingly honest with ourselves and with our community. Program outcomes, whatever they are, guide our program development and allocation of resources. Financial results, whatever they are, must be incorporated into our long-term planning. Setbacks and challenges are opportunities for iteration and improvement. Our commitment is always to the mission and the community we serve, not to the organization itself. We rally around Opportunity Junction and work for its growth because of its effectiveness in serving our mission.