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The Opportunity Network

The Opportunity Network (OppNet) is one of the most effective programs at teaching career-readiness skills to high-achieving youth through its Career Fluency Partnerships program, strategic partnerships with schools and other community-based organizations that range in scope of work, length of engagement, and deliverables, all based on partners’ needs and goals along the college and career spectrum. Its program is a holistic focus on college and careers through an extensive and intensive intervention over six years.

OppNet uses a specialized Career Fluency® curriculum that emphasizes personal and professional networks and social capital. From sophomore summer through senior year of high school, OppNet Fellows participate in weekly after-school sessions of career exploration, networking training, and professional etiquette. An intensive college advising program (focused on admission to best-fit, four-year colleges) supplements the students’ college guidance in school, including a free eight-month SAT/ACT prep course. During four years of college, students are required to meet academic standards as well as attend workshops and networking events over school breaks. They also hold paid internships over five summers through OppNet’s relationships with 200 companies, nonprofits, and government entities and receive over 300 mentoring and counseling sessions while in college, including check-in calls and on-campus visits from OppNet staff.

The Partnerships model enables OppNet to build capacity in disseminating its effective college- and career-readiness curriculum to a wider audience while still reflecting OppNet’s commitment to data collection and analysis. OppNet has tracked the impact of its Partnerships on long-term outcomes and has led partners to first-year college persistence rate increases ranging from 12% to 53%, as compared to established baselines. With our support, OppNet is growing its Partnerships from 29 to 35 engagements, reaching 10,000 students over the course of 18 months, and reaching 1,100 students through the Fellows program.

There are no two ways about it: Heckscher’s support has been a driving factor in our growth at pivotal junctures over the course of our 15 years. Their established and respected standing in the philanthropic and youth development fields has deepened the pride and purpose with which we approach our work.
Jessica Pliska
Founder & CEO, The Opportunity Network