Business Name: Opportunity Inc.
President's Name: Shawn Avery
President's Title: President & CEO
What are your business’s core values, goals, and overall mission?
Established by the Hampton Roads Workforce Development Board, Opportunity Inc. oversees workforce development programs for eight localities in South and Western Hampton Roads. Opportunity Inc. serves as the regional convener of workforce development – ensuring the strategic alignment of efforts that facilitate meaningful employment and economic growth in Hampton Roads, while excelling at the delivery of business, workforce, and youth funded services.
In addition, the organization is committed to the development and implementation of a system that will equip the existing and emerging workforce to meet the business community’s need for a trained and highly-skilled workforce.
Share some unique facts and business history? What makes your business stand out?
In 2015-2016, Opportunity Inc.:
As important, Opportunity Inc. is forward-thinking and focused on developing a strong talent pipeline for jobs of the future. Through the Youth Career Center of Hampton Roads (YCCHR), the organization provides robust programs and services aimed at preparing the emerging workforce. Over the last six years, the YCCHR has served more than 25,000 youth and young adults through workplace readiness training, mentoring, post-secondary opportunities, career exploration, job preparation, and financial literacy education.
What products or services do you offer companies or individuals?
Opportunity Inc. provides services to businesses designed to enhance their operations and profitability through proper recruitment, hiring, and retention of an exceptional workforce. Business Services include:
Opportunity Inc. offers career and training services through the One-Stop Workforce Centers and Career Access Network locations. Career Services to Job seekers include:
What are the greatest obstacles and/or challenges that your business has faced? How have you and your business overcome them?
The restrictions associated with the use of Federal funds is one of the primary challenges confronting Opportunity Inc. The organization’s career services are funded through the U.S. Department of Labor, which absorbs a portion of the costs for job seekers and employers. As a federally funded organization, we are granted many opportunities to assist jobseekers and business, but we also experience some limitations in our efforts to provide longstanding programs and services that are unique to Hampton Roads. As we assess our programs and service delivery model, we uncover new and innovative ways to create a vibrant workforce that may not always align with the funding provided. To surmount this challenge, the Board has launched an aggressive fundraising campaign through the Hampton Roads Workforce Development Corporation. The Corporation is Opportunity Inc.’s 501c3 organization that is able to receive, maintain, and administer funds to support initiatives, such as the Youth Career Center and the Career Access Network. Through the use of unrestricted funds, we are hoping to expand the programs and services available to job seekers and employers.
What accomplishments are your most proud of?
For four consecutive years, Opportunity Inc. has exceeded all performance measures for workforce development boards – successfully administering high quality programs that have strengthened our regional workforce as it recovers from the effects of the recent recession and sequestration.
In addition, Governor McAuliffe recently presented the V3 Commonwealth Award to the Virginia Association of Workforce Directors – comprised of 15 members, including Opportunity Inc.’s President and CEO, Shawn Avery. The award recognizes the organization’s outstanding strategic contributions to the the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) Program, which has hired over 18,000 veterans this year. This recognition underscores Opportunity Inc.’s commitment to providing career services aimed at helping veterans successfully transition into the workforce.
What do you see for the future of your business?
Over the past year, Opportunity Inc. has generated significant momentum for the economy of Southeastern Virginia through its involvement in the integration of workforce development and economic development activities. As the regional convener for workforce development, the organization is leading the charge in the development of workforce solutions designed to grow and connect talent with opportunities.
In the years ahead, we hope to further solidify the organization in this role and create better synergy amongst the business, education, and economic development communities to ensure a highly skilled workforce – capable of meeting the demand in growing industry clusters within our region, such as Information, Analytics and Security; Advanced Manufacturing; Life Science and Healthcare; Maritime Logistics and Supply Chain; and Business and Financial Services. In addition, we will continue developing strategic partnerships across all localities to increase our footprint in the Hampton Roads community.
Why are you a member of the Hampton Roads Chamber?
The Chamber’s commitment to helping the business community thrive to ensure economic vitality for our region aligns with the mission of Opportunity Inc. Our membership also provides us with another opportunity to connect with local businesses to share the services and resources available to them and their employees through our Business Services program.
(Pictured: Shawn Avery, President & CEO)