OP job fair on March 28

Opportunity Partners is hosting a job fair! Come learn how you can make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. Job offers could be given on the spot.

Tuesday, March 28, 4 – 7 p.m.
Stuart Wells Room
Greater Twin Cities United Way
404 South 8th Street, Minneapolis (downtown)

A variety of positions are available:
– Direct Support Professionals (residential, apartment living & in-home services)
– Adult Special Education Instructors
– Site Supervisors in community Supported Employment Teams
– Production Work Skills Instructors
Take a look at our current openings!

For more information, call 952.938.5511.

Posted in News, News on home

Legislative activities kick into high gear

minnesota state capitol

March 13, 2017

By Julie Peters, Communications Director

As organizations like Opportunity Partners embrace mounting pressures for system change and innovation on multiple fronts and an ongoing workforce shortage, now is the time to let lawmakers know our services are critical!

Rob and his staff Eli rally at last year’s Day at the Capitol

Join us as we rally together! ARRM/MOHR Day at the Capitol is Tuesday, March 14. Join hundreds of other disability advocates for a 10 am rally in the State Capitol rotunda followed by meetings with legislators. Learn more about this important day.

The Day at the Capitol is a great opportunity to meet your State Senator and Representative – after all, they work for you! Find out who your lawmakers are using this tool.

Opportunity Partners is again this year partnering with the Best Life Alliance, a Minnesota coalition advocating for Home & Community-Based Services that support people with disabilities and employ direct care workers. The alliance formed in 2014 and was successful in advocating for and receiving a 5 percent rate increase for providers that year; however, even with that increase, rates for our services have not kept pace with rising costs and staff turnover has reached a critical level.

What’s in Best Life Alliance’s 2017 bill? SF 669/ HF 873

  • Consecutive 4 percent wage increases for more than 80,000 direct care workers statewide (effective July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018).
  • Development of a long-term solution for funding health insurance for direct care workers by July 1, 2019.

minnesota state capitolYou can follow Best Life Alliance updates and access resources via this link.

Opportunity Partners is also an active member of ARRM, a disability trade association working to ensure Minnesota’s public policy and regulatory environment promotes the independence, health and safety of people with disabilities. In 2017, ARRM and its members will focus on passing reforms to help address the significant workforce shortages in our industry. Learn more about ARRM’s legislative agenda here.

As a member of the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation & Rehabilitation (MOHR), Opportunity Partners shares in the belief that people with disabilities should have access to effective and high quality employment and day services of their choice. We’re partnering with MOHR to advocate for legislation that addresses the workforce shortage and ensures employment and day service sustainability. You can learn more about MOHR’s efforts online.

Your support of Opportunity Partners and your advocacy efforts and commitment to people we serve are key to successful outcomes at the legislature. As always, thank you for your advocacy!

Contact us to ask questions or join our efforts!

Posted in Blog, Blog show on home

Join us for Day at the Capitol

Join Opportunity Partners and 1,000 disability champions, including self-advocates, families and direct care workers as we rally at ARRM/MOHR Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, March 14. The rally starts at 10 am in the Capitol Rotunda. Learn more.

For more information on advocacy and involvement at OP, visit our page.

Posted in News

Showing heart every day

February 27, 2017

By Nick Elsen, Director of Residential Services

Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) make up the heart of our organization. The impact our caregivers make each and every day in advancing the quality of life for people with disabilities means they are among the most crucial members of our programs and services.

Whenever the people we support are having a difficult day, DSPs are there. When someone needs help taking daily medicine, getting dressed for the weather or making a healthy and tasty dinner, DSPs are there. And when someone may not have family to celebrate with during the holidays, DSPs are there to provide caring and family-like support.

Unfortunately, like disability service organizations across the state and nation, Opportunity Partners needs more DSPs to join our team. In fact, we have 70 open positions across our organization. 70! That is almost unbelievable and underscores the need to address the serious staff shortages that are harming Home and Community-Based Services like ours.

Eli helps Allan with paperwork at the bank

To highlight the incredible work of our employees and to recruit more caring and talented staff, we created a series of career testimonial videos. The theme of these videos is “A Day in the Life” and chronicles exactly that – what a day in the life at Opportunity Partners is like. Take a look at a day in the life of Eli Grobel. Eli is an Assistant Program Manager at OP’s Fremont House. In the video, he is seen helping Fremont’s residents with errands, assisting them to manage their money and helping them plan their vacations.

“It’s a really unique thing to work in someone’s home. You get to see their good days and their bad days and everything in between,” Eli says.

You can join Eli and hundreds of other people on March 14 in the State Capitol Rotunda at 10 a.m. for a rally in support of Home and Community-Based Services. The ARRM/MOHR Day at the Capitol will focus on the urgent need to address the workforce shortage in Minnesota’s community-based services. Best Life Alliance, a statewide coalition advocating for community-based services that support Minnesotans with disabilities, will discuss its 2017 legislation which includes two components:

  • Consecutive 4 percent wage increases for direct care workers (effective July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018).
  • Improvement of health insurance for direct care workers by increasing provider rates to cover the cost of single employee healthcare coverage by July 1, 2019.

Learn more about Best Life Alliance and ways to get involved.

If you or someone you know is looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of others and to share your heart with us, check out our job openings.

Posted in Blog

Encouraging advocacy one person at a time

February 13, 2017

Q&A with Lead Service Coordinator, Rebekah Wold. Rebekah recently took on the responsibility of running the Committee of Advocacy and Leadership (COAL) at Koch Campus.

Rebekah with self-advocate and COAL member Bonnie

Why do you like working as a Direct Support Professional (DSP)?
My favorite part is encouraging people to make their own choices about their life. It’s great to see someone work through an issue and make a decision that will make his or her life better.

Why is it important for you to help the people we serve?
Diversity is vital. My life has been enriched by spending time and getting to know the people we serve. I want the greater community to have the same opportunity I’ve had to see the beauty and strength in our diversity. This desire drives me to support the people we serve.

How do you get people involved with advocacy efforts?
Many people have joined COAL so they have a place to connect with one another and get plugged into the community. My work consists of creating a space where everyone feels comfortable sharing and people can leave the meeting feeling encouraged. I’m looking forward to a year of seeing people grow to support each other more! I’m also excited to talk to our legislators and let them know what they can do to support the people we serve!

What has been your favorite memory here?
I get to regularly enjoy an outing with a woman on my caseload. We go out to drink coffee and talk about our lives. She is a creative and daring chef, and recently shared that she made a salad consisting of onions, lettuce, peanuts, Swiss cheese, Caesar dressing and peaches

Tell us more about yourself.
I have a pet cat and a pet rock. My cat is named Grace; she is 16 and enjoys sleeping by the fire and eating dairy products. My rock is named Ted; he is 3.2 billion years old and also enjoys the warmth of the fire. I love walking in nature, baking bread, hosting dinner parties, reading the news and painting.

Rebekah and dozens of other OP ambassadors will be rallying at ARRM/MOHR Day at the Capitol on March 14. Learn more.

 

Posted in Blog

Opening Minds. Changing Lives. Together.

You can help us Redefine Ability in 2017 by:

  1. Making a gift to support our critical work
  2. Liking us on Facebook and sharing our message with others
  3. Sharing your Redefine Ability story with us

With your partnership, so much is possible.


Vince

At age 33, Vince Fiorilli still has dreams he wants to accomplish – like enrolling in an online college to pursue his passion for writing poetry.

For now, he is redefining his ability by dabbling in poetry on his own and earning money for college by working at McDonald’s in Eden Prairie.

Landing an independent job was a big step for Vince, who has lived with the effects of a traumatic brain injury most of his life.

Although Vince says his brain injury meant he had to give up his goal of joining the military, he hasn’t let it stop him from leading a fulfilling life complete with work, friends and hobbies.

“I like to write poems, hang out with friends and help people,” he said, adding that someday he would like to volunteer with seniors or people disabilities.

Last April, McDonald’s hired Vince as a dining room attendant. As his managers began to recognize his potential as a hard working and reliable employee, the opportunities for additional training expanded.

He has learned to cook fries, take orders and operate the register, stock the ice and condiments, and run rood to customers. He is thriving as a valuable member of the team, filling in where needed and evening earning Employee of the Month!

Posted in Uncategorized

Opportunity Partners Gala – May 20, 2017


 Join us for our annual gala to benefit Opportunity Partners.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Opportunity Partners-Koch Campus
5500 Opportunity Court
Minnetonka, MN 55343

Purchase Tickets

For more information contact us at events@opportunities.org or 952-912-7442.


Thank you to our sponsors

Posted in Events, Events show on home

Parents united with and for our children

January 30, 2017

By Nancy Wagner, Parent and Opportunity Partners Board of Directors

As a mom of an adult son with Down Syndrome, I care about Matt’s future and the future of all people with disabilities. Changes are happening around us – some good and some that concern me – and I want to be sure that Matt and I have our voices heard.

The Wagner family at the Opportunity Partners gala

Let me tell you about Matt.

Matt is a person, just like anyone else.
Matt loves to work at Opportunity Partners.
Matt enjoys bowling with his friends on the weekends.
Matt loves living on his own through an apartment supported by Hammer.
Matt keeps me up to date on current events.
Matt likes to go to the Mall of America and Caribou.
Matt is my son, and I will always be his champion.

It’s because of Matt that I am involved with MNFAC, the Minnesota Families and Advocates Coalition – a grassroots statewide initiative helping parents learn how to advocate, what to do and where to start. We are families working together to promote advocacy, self-advocacy and awareness in our community.

Please join me at the next MNFAC meeting where we’ll discuss Disability Waiver Rate Setting (DWRS) and “Advocacy 101” – leaning how to effectively advocate for our loved ones – as well as an update on Best Life Alliance and their campaign to increase wages in the direct care workforce.

Meeting Details:
Tuesday January 31, 2017
7-9 p.m.
Hennepin County Brookdale Library
6125 Shingle Creek Pkwy
Brookdale Room ABC
Brooklyn Center, MN 55430

All are welcome – please RSVP.

Can’t make the meeting? Stay up to date by following MNFAC on Facebook.

Posted in Blog

2017 Spaghetti Dinner

You are invited to the 2017 Spaghetti Dinner sponsored by the Hopkins Noontime Lions Club! Come enjoy spaghetti with meatballs or meatless sauce, salad, bread, dessert and a beverage. Takeout is also available.

When: Thursday, March 2, 2017, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Where: 5500 Opportunity Court, Minnetonka
Cost: Adults: $8, Children Under 12: $5, Families of 5 or more: $35

Learn more.

Posted in Events

Opportunity Partners welcomes new board members in 2017

January 20, 2017

Twin Cities nonprofit organization Opportunity Partners announces the election of Sarah Bridges, Joe Kukla and Leslie Neugent to its Board of Directors. Opportunity Partners advances the quality of life for people with disabilities through employment and residential programs that serve more than 2,000 people each year.

Sarah Bridges is a psychologist, executive coach and consultant, speaker, writer and thought leader on management. She is the owner of Bridges Consulting and has advised senior executives at Fortune 500 companies. Sarah received her B.A. in psychology from Wesleyan University and her Ph.D. in Neuropsychology from the University of Minnesota.

 

Joe Kukla is partner at Thiel, Anderson & Kukla, LLP. He specializes in disability planning and guardianships. Joe is also a certified coach with the Special Olympics Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with degrees in political science and criminal justice. He received his Juris Doctor from the New England School of Law.

 

Leslie Neugent is a minister at Wayzata Community Church. She leads a ministry and worship service called Parables for people with special needs and their families. She received a B.S in Communications from Northwestern University and a Masters in Advertising from the Medill School of Journalism.

Posted in News, Press Releases

2017 Legislative session underway

January 16, 2017

By Julie Peters, Communications Director

The start of the 2017 State Legislature kicked off January 3, and Opportunity Partners is already engaged in a number of issues important to disability service providers, the people we serve and their families, and our employees. While facing mounting pressures for system change and innovation on multiple fronts and an ongoing workforce shortage in our industry, now is the time to let lawmakers know that our services are critical!

Advocates at the Day at the Capitol

Opportunity Partners is again this year partnering with the Best Life Alliance, a Minnesota coalition advocating for Home & Community-Based services that support people with disabilities and employ Direct Support Professionals. The alliance formed in 2014 and was successful in advocating for and receiving a 5 percent rate increase for providers that year; however, even with the 2014 increase, rates for our services remain far behind the pace of inflation and staff turnover continues to be a challenge.

This year, Best Life Alliance legislation will again ask lawmakers to support Home & Community-Based Services to ensure better compensation for direct care workers and support more stable, quality services that allow people with disabilities to live and work as independently as possible.

You can follow Best Life Alliance updates via this link: http://www.arrm.org/ARRM/Advocacy/Best_Life_Alliance/Info___Events/ARRM/Advocacy/Best_Life_Alliance.aspx

Opportunity Partners is an active member of ARRM, a disability trade association working to ensure Minnesota’s public policy and regulatory environment promotes the independence, health and safety of people with disabilities. In 2017, ARRM and its members will focus on passing reforms to help address the significant workforce shortages in our industry. Learn more about ARRM’s legislative agenda here: https://www.arrm.org/arrmpdfs/advocacy/legislativeagenda2017.pdf

As a member of the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation & Rehabilitation (MOHR), Opportunity Partners shares in the belief that people with disabilities should have access to effective and high quality employment and day services of their choice. We’ll be partnering with MOHR to advocate for legislation that addresses the workforce shortage and ensures employment and day service sustainability.

You can learn more about MOHR’s efforts at http://mohrmn.org/

Here’s more ways you can get involved:
• Reach out and meet your State Senator and Representative – they work for you! Find out who your lawmakers are using this tool: http://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/
• Go to a rally! ARRM/MOHR Day at the Capitol is Tuesday, March 14. Join more than 1,000 other disability advocates for a 10 am rally in the State Capitol rotunda followed by meetings with legislators. Learn more about this important day at: http://www.arrm.org/ARRM/Advocacy/ARRM-DAC/ARRM/Advocacy/ARRM-Day-at-the-Capitol.aspx?hkey=4cbb8248-f819-4a17-ba13-582c9dd9ce0f
• Contact us at info@opportunities.org to ask questions or join our efforts!

Your support of Opportunity Partners and your advocacy efforts and commitment to people we serve are key to successful outcomes at the legislature. As always, thank you for your advocacy!

Posted in Blog

Star Tribune stops by to talk about OP pet policy

January 10, 2017

Last year, Opportunity Partners adopted a pet policy for two main reasons: to boost morale in the office and recruitment. Kevyn Burger of the Star Tribune recently visited Koch Campus to talk about OP’s newly adopted pet policy.

See the story online!


Posted in News, Press Releases

Opening Minds. Changing Lives. Together.

January 3, 2017

By Armando Camacho, President & CEO

As we kick off 2017, we look forward to another year where we can make a difference in the lives of people with all abilities. I know you share in our beliefs that all people deserve a life where they are valued, recognized, and celebrated for abilities, not disabilities.

This was never more apparent than in 2016 when, sadly, we had to say goodbye to a number of individuals who had been served by us, some for many years.

One person was John Beresford, 36. John developed leukemia earlier in the year and was not given long to live. Knowing how important work was to John – he had attended Koch Campus nearly 11 years – his family arranged a retirement party here. It was one last chance for him to connect with friends and staff, and to bring closure. The party was a touching and profound experience for everyone involved.

John died 11 days later.

His parents, Rick and Mary, shared their gratitude: “Thank you once again, and please thank (everyone) who came and loved on John. It made all the difference in the world to his state of mind and to his heart. You all make such a difference in the lives of your clients and their families. It is good work that you do. God’s blessings on you all!”

We never take the work we do for granted. We know when all people have the chance to be accepted and included, our world is better. We touch lives, we make a difference, and we care. We celebrate when the people we serve experience success, and we miss them when they are no longer here.

We know that the year ahead will bring unique challenges to organizations like Opportunity Partners. With increasing requirements from both the federal and state levels to expand community integration and independent employment options, we acknowledge that our services may not look the same in the future as they do now. But we vow to forge ahead, leading change in our sector by reinventing our services as needed so we can continue to provide people opportunities to lead the happy, dignified and rewarding lives that everyone deserves.

With your support, we will “Redefine Ability.” Opening Minds. Changing Lives. Together.

P.S. If you want the latest information about our service redesign plans in 2017, be sure you are on our mail and/or email list. Contact info@opportunities.org or 952-930-4208.

Posted in Blog

Some OP sites closed for the holidays

OP day sites will be closed December 23 and December 26. Happy Holidays!

Posted in Uncategorized

We believe in all abilities

December 19, 2016

By Armando Camacho, President & CEO

We believe in all abilities. And we know that you do too.

You believe in Greg, who just got a job at McDonalds. Seeing his picture on the wall at his day-training site has inspired others to see that employment can be a possibility for them as well.

Michelle excels in her job at Arby’s

You helped Michelle build exceptional customer service skills so that guests comment about what an asset she is to the company.

You cheer for Alyssa, who co-workers describe as friendly, very positive and a hard worker.

This is the life we all deserve. To be valued. To be recognized. To be celebrated for our abilities, not our disabilities.

Opportunity Partners depends on the generosity of our donors to help provide the confidence, support and hope to the individuals who need us.

By investing in Opportunity Partners, you invest in people’s lives. You help individuals build themselves up and they, in turn, then build up our community. Here are just a few examples of what your gift can do:

$50 pays for a cooking activity at one of our residences
$100 covers one semester of art supplies for a Learning Options class
$250 provides cultural opportunities, such as fees for a music class
$500 helps with technology skills, such as taking a computer class to build work skills
$1,000 provides job training, such as a partial scholarship for a Certified Learning Platform
$1,500 pays for a month of gas for our vans to transport Supported Employment Teams working in the community
$2,500 increases independent living by helping with costs to install new technology in one of our residences

Our fiscal year ends on December 31. Make a difference today by making a gift online.

Thank you for believing.

Posted in Blog

How to get started

An Opportunity Partners representative is ready to answer your questions, set up a tour, or discuss the many ways we can partner with you. Get started today