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 issues on the research agenda: working-class decline, workforce education, community college reform, occupational credentials and homeownership as an engine of economic mobility.

Recent events have included a national summit showcasing center-right thinking on poverty and opportunity, a Senate briefing on career and technical education, a public forum on how to make college work for nontraditional students and a roundtable for employers exploring the barriers that prevent many U.S. companies from launching apprenticeship programs.

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

Employers & job training: New Jersey as laboratory for America - Opportunity America policy brief, 7-1-2017
Could conservatives lead the fight against poverty? - Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity 12-7-16
The new poverty – working class decline - Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity 9-13-16
Getting credit for what you know - The Atlantic, 1-29-15
Could conservatives lead the fight against poverty? - Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity 12-7-16
Let’s remember forgotten Americans - Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity 9-13-16

EVENTS

A match made in heaven: CTE charter schools - Panel discussion at the 2017 National Charter Schools Conference, 6-12-17
CTE charter roundtable - Peer-to-peer discussion among CTE charter educators, 6-11-17
Work-based learning v. formal apprenticeship - Panel discussion at the 2017 Apprenticeship Forward conference, 5-4-17
This way up summit - New ideas from policymakers and practitioners, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, 12-14-17 and 12-15-17
On-the-job work experience: Overcoming the hurdles - A panel discussion with an educator, an employer, a state official and a workforce intermediary, 12-3-16
Apprenticeship: Overcoming the obstacles - A roundtable discussion with U.S. employers, October 3-4, 2016
Boost or Barrier? Upward mobility in the on-demand economy - A panel discussion with policy analysts and economic researchers, 6-29-16