Opportunity is Not Distributed Equally Dear Opportunity Junction Community,

We reacted with shock, heartbreak, and rage to the brazen murder of George Floyd two weeks ago. But this wasn’t an isolated incident: we remember Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor and countless others. Some of us took to the streets to protest. Others reached out to family and friends to offer support.

But we have not yet come to terms with the entrenched, systematic racism that pervades not just police practices but the spheres of housing, education, and employment.

virtual graduation The trainees of Class 61 of the Administrative Careers Training (ACT) program completed homework, presentations, and Microsoft Office Specialist certifications, all while working from home. They were really hoping to gather with friends and family for an in-person celebration.

I was hired immediately with one of OJ's job leads!

Andrea Higgins"When the COVID pandemic hit, my husband lost overtime hours at work. With my classes on hold and his reduced hours, I was starting to worry." Opportunity Junction staff stepped up to help CNA (certified nursing assistant) students gain employment even amidst this crisis. Less than four weeks of training and a certification test —that is all that was left of Andrea's intensive training program to become a Certified Nursing Assistant when the COVID pandemic shut down Contra Costa County

Gala logo On April 25, 2020 Opportunity Junction hosted their 20th Anniversary Imagine Gala, only this time, it was virtual! The event was a roaring success, bringing in over $121,000 for Opportunity Junction programs and services. The funds raised from this annual event are more critical now than ever.

Class on Zoom The needs of the job seekers and alumni we serve at Opportunity Junction didn't shut down on March 16th, and neither did we. Staff members are offering relief to those hit hardest, thanks to our supporters' generosity, while pivoting to remote program delivery.

New Grants

piggy bankWe are proud and grateful to announce the following new grants and funding partnerships:

Anonymous Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation: The Anonymous Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation issued an unrestricted grant to support Opportunity Junction's programs. The East Bay Community Foundation partners with donors, social movements, and the community to eliminate structural barriers, advance racial equity, and transform political, social, and economic outcomes for all who call the East Bay home.

Gala 2020 We are happy to announce we will be pivoting our traditional gala to an exciting virtual experience!

What does that mean? You can Celebrate 20 Years of Roaring Success from the comfort of your own home. We will incorporate an online auction, a paddle raise, and some of your favorite annual Imagine Gala components.

Our response to Covid-19 Message from Alissa Friedman, President and CEO:

I send you my best wishes during this medical and economic crisis. We surveyed recent graduates of our employment programs this week, and the responses broke my heart. More than half were struggling. Many had lost hours or been laid off entirely. Some were at risk of losing their housing. Others were concerned about the health of vulnerable loved ones.

Shirley Marshall: "OJ gave me the confidence to say, ‘I can do this.’"

Shirley MarshallShirley Marshall was 23 years old when she first heard about Opportunity Junction. Like many young adults today, Shirley finished high school adrift, disillusioned, and unsure about the right next steps for her.

"I was a good student through elementary and middle school,” Shirley shares, “but things changed when I started high school. I ended up graduating from a continuation school a year late. Shirley continues, “I felt like I was drifting, doing only the bare minimum, and waiting to get out of the system. When I graduated, I just stayed home. For three years, I lived in my house in a state of depression. I felt like I had no skills and no plan. That time just blurs together and every minute of it was wasted." One day, Shirley decided it was time for something different.

piggy bankWe are proud and grateful to announce the following new grants and funding partnerships:

NRG Energy, Inc.: NRG Energy, Inc. renewed its support for Bay Point and Pittsburg residents participating in our Administrative Careers Training Program. NRG operates the Marsh Landing Generating Station near Antioch; their positiveNRG program strengthens communities by investing in the places where they do business.

Do It Yourself Taxes Opportunity Junction is offering no cost income tax preparation in our Antioch office. Community members can sign up on our website for Friday evening or Saturday morning sessions between now and April 11th, 2020. Opportunity Junction’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)-certified team will walk you through the process to file your State and Federal income tax returns online.