WHO WE ARE

Opportunity America is a Washington think tank and policy shop promoting economic mobility – work, skills, careers, ownership and entrepreneurship for poor and working Americans.

Restoring robust economic mobility is among the most urgent challenges facing the nation today. Our current approach dates back more than 50 years to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty – a strategy that made a difference in its day but is no longer enough.

What’s needed is a new conversation: a new vocabulary, new voices from new places on the political spectrum, a new broader climate of concern – and a new national push to enhance opportunity.

Opportunity America is devoted to filling this gap, funneling ideas into the policy process and building consensus around a new agenda.

WHAT WE DO

The organization’s principal activities are research, policy development, dissemination of policy ideas and working to build consensus around policy proposals.

Among the top issues on our agenda: working-class decline, career education, community college reform, career-focused charter schools and immigrant entrepreneurship.

Recent projects have included convening a bipartisan working group of scholars and policy experts to develop solutions for the working class, editing a volume of the best new center-right thinking on poverty and mobility, a research paper on community colleges and workforce education and a roundtable session bringing together CTE charter school educators from around the country.

Opportunity America also manages a coalition of employers and employer associations working to improve policy on workforce issues. Its core goals: amplifying the employer voice on career education, creating space for partnerships between employers and educators and leveling the playing field to put workforce education more on a par with traditional academic instruction.

PUBLICATIONS

Industry-driven apprenticeship: What works, what’s needed - By Tamar Jacoby and Robert I. Lerman, Urban Institute, February 2019
Community colleges and career education - Education Next, 11-28-18
This Way Up: New thinking about poverty and economic mobility - Volume edited by Tamar Jacoby, American Enterprise Institute and Opportunity America, 1-18-18
Visiting working class America - By Tamar Jacoby and Isabel Sawhill, Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity 10-4-17

EVENTS

Workforce Pell briefing - Briefing for congressional staffers, 7-30-19
Industry-driven apprenticeship - Panel discussion on employer-led earn-and-learn training, 2-20-19
Immigrant entrepreneurship roundtables - Listening sessions in three cities, Chicago, Phoenix and St. Louis, February – July 2019
Work, skills, community: Restoring opportunity for the working class - Opportunity America-AEI-Brookings Hill briefing for congressional staffers, 2-22-19
Listening tour - Opportunity America-AEI-Brookings working class study group traveled to Michigan & Ohio, October 2018
CTE schools: What standards? - Authorizers discuss performance standards for CTE charter schools, 10-22-18
You can do it: Launching a CTE charter - Panel discussion at the 2018 National Charter Schools Conference, 6-19-18