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

Kentucky FAME: Fulfilling the promise of apprenticeship - Opportunity America and Brookings Institution, October 2020
Can community colleges step up as engines of economic recovery? - Atlanta Fed Workforce Currents, November 2020
Work, skills, community: Restoring opportunity for the working class - Opportunity America, American Enterprise Institute and Brookings Institution, November 2018
Immigrant entrepreneurs and the barriers they face - Kauffman Foundation Currents, March 2020
Industry-driven apprenticeship: What works, what’s needed - By Tamar Jacoby and Robert I. Lerman, Urban Institute, February 2019

EVENTS

Kentucky FAME: Fulfilling the promise of apprenticeship - Virtual release of OA-Brookings report on the Kentucky FAME apprenticeship program, 10-19-20
The indispensable institution - Virtual release of new report on community college workforce education, 6-25-20
Skills wanted: CUNY as engine of economic recovery - Virtual panel discussing CUNY’s role in the economic recovery, 7-8-20
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