The Opportunity Conversation is Just Getting Started•
This has been an extraordinary year for the national conversation about opportunity, thanks in great part to you and your work to help more people get their fair shot at the American Dream.
Throughout the year, educational opportunity and economic mobility have dominated the news and kitchen-table conversations, buoyed by new research and a deepening awareness of just how out-of-reach the American Dream has become for far too many. As I write on Opportunity Nation’s blog this week, political leaders, who agree on little else, agree we need to restore our nation’s promise as a land of opportunity for all.
As we reflect on 2013, we are grateful for the momentum and energy generated by Opportunity Nation’s diverse network, and are excited for what’s to come.
- Growing Opportunity Network: The Opportunity Nation Coalition now has 300 members, including Monroe Community College (NY), Rhode Island Kids Count, One Million Degrees (Chicago) and MDC in North Carolina. Our grassroots leaders, 178 Opportunity Leaders and Scholars, are advocating opportunity-related issues in 45 states.
- Bipartisan Policy: Bipartisan cooperation on two opportunity-related bills, The American Dream Accounts Act and the CAREER Act.
- Opportunity Index Launch: This fall, the release of the new Opportunity Index sparked conversations across the country about how to connect more young adults to work and school. We held three dynamic events to release the 2013 Index data in Washington DC, Boston and New York and hosted webinars for our wider network.
- Hill Day: Dozens of Leaders and Scholars and Coalition members held 50 meetings with members of Congress and their staffs in June to advocate bills and issues that expand educational access and economic mobility.
- Community Conversations: This spring, Opportunity Nation and Coalition partners hosted a series of conversations to learn from leaders in Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Washington on local Opportunity issues.
- Increased Engagement: Corporate foundations used the Index to assess new areas of investment and support; community colleges worked with local employers to address the skills gap; new research connected industry presence and opportunity.
- Media Coverage: We were thrilled to see so many great stories this year about the work of Coalition members and the Opportunity Index. This includes coverage by the TODAY Show, Fox News, TIME, USA Today, AP and the Wall Street Journal, as well as a cover story and 16-page package in this winter’s Washington Monthly Magazine that highlighted Per Scholas, Gateway to College, Des Moines Area Community College and Year Up.
Thanks as always for all you do to advance opportunity where you live. I wish you and yours a happy and healthy 2014.