History of Opportunity Partners
Although the pandemic continued to disrupt services and limit capacities, OP staff persevered and pivoted to new ways of supporting people. Virtual Services, developed in 2020, continued to be a popular options for people not ready to return in person. OP holds its first-ever virtual Gala, drawing new supporters and excitement for our organization and raising over $350,000.
The COVID-19 pandemic closed down our day services for several months starting in March 2020, with a gradual reopening in the summer. Meanwhile, our Residential and Vocational services continued to support people at their homes and in their community jobs. People who had been away from OP for months were elated when they could finally return.
Bill Schultz was promoted to OP’s President & CEO after leading our Business Services for five years. Former President & CEO Armando Camacho left OP to pursue a new opportunity at Wilder Foundation.
Our Ensign residence in New Hope was a total loss following a June 2019 fire. Staff member Adventor Trye helped rescue a person served from the mid-day blaze. After the devastation, the community rallied to support OP and the three men who called Ensign their home.
OP-Asplin Center’s art program earned a state Life Enrichment Award through the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation & Rehabilitation (MOHR). The award recognized the art program’s role in personal growth, increased confidence and community engagement.
We celebrated 65 years of success in our community. This included recognition of Bob Garoutte, who has been served since OP’s beginning in 1953. Bob has received both day and residential services.
Our 2017 Gala drew more than 400 guests and raised nearly $300,000. Your generous contributions help us carry out our mission of advancing the quality of life for people with disabilities.
We purchased a new residence on Pleasant Avenue in Richfield to replace our Webster house. The new home is larger and more accessible for the four residents.
Opportunity Partners’ Committee of Advocacy & Leadership (COAL) earned statewide recognition by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits in the area of Advocacy.
Armando Camacho was hired as President & CEO. Armando came into the position with a strong background in nonprofit management, education and special education.
Opportunity Partners celebrates 60 years of success in helping people with disabilities live, learn and work more independently.
Opportunity Partners expands hoMEbase to Coon Rapids, and hits a new milestone: 1,700 people served annually.
Opportunity Partners opens two new programs: hoMEbase apartment living in Hopkins, and community-based Spectrum, which serves people with autism and other disabilities in a community model.
Opportunity Partners launches its first Certified Learning Platform program in partnership with Dunwoody Customized Training. Professional Cleaning was the first platform. It would later be followed by Retail Training and Network Support.
Opportunity Partners now services nearly 1,500 people at 32 vocational and residential sites.
Minnetonka location is dedicated Koch Technical and Training Campus after long-time supporters David and Babs Koch.
Opportunity Partners opens Golden Opportunity, a day program for seniors with developmental disabilities. Minnetonka location undergoes a major renovation and expansion, including bright, new classroom areas and expanded office space.
Opportunity Partners starts a Day Training and Habilitation (DTH) program in Anoka County, joining the Semi-Independent Living Services (SILS) residential program already in place.
Opportunity Partners provides personalized education, housing and employment opportunities to more than 1,200 people served with developmental disabilities, brain injury, autism and other special needs. Opportunity Partners has 31 vocational and residential sites throughout the Twin Cities.
Four new group homes are established: Ensign, Hampshire, Vincent and Penn. Opportunity Partners continues its expansion of employment services in the community, opening new supported employment sites. To date, eight homes have been purchased.
Opportunity Workshop changes its name to Opportunity Partners to better reflect its diverse array of services. Karlins Center opened.
Opportunity Partners Brain Injury Services opens a Community Integration Services office in South St. Paul. Semi-Independent Living Services expands services into Anoka County.
Opportunity Workshop became Minnesota’s largest organization serving the vocational and residential needs of adults with developmental disabilities or brain injury. 227 staff, 152 volunteers, and thousands of families and supporters worked to serve over 800 people with disabilities.
Opportunity Partners Brain Injury Services began assisting survivors of brain injury with employment services, opening offices in downtown Minneapolis.
The Autism Program was established to provide community and on-site work for those with autism.
Fifty new clients were added to the two Work Activity Center programs. This brought the total number of people served to 300, making it the largest adult day activity program in Minnesota.
Senator and Mrs. Hubert H. Humphrey attended Opportunity Workshop’s open house.
Opportunity Workshop’s main facility was moved again to its present location in Minnetonka from Richfield. There was now space to serve 500 people under one roof – a major milestone in Opportunity Workshop’s history.
Opportunity Workshop’s residential services began with the opening of Clara Doerr residence.
Opportunity Workshop’s facilities were expected to serve 200 people.
More space was needed as there were twice as many applicants as could be enrolled! People from all over Minnesota were seeking out Opportunity Workshop.
Seven Opportunity Workshop trainees were placed in competitive community jobs. The positions filled included messenger, dishwasher, maintenance worker, nurse’s aid, greenhouse worker and factory worker.
Opportunity Workshop was founded in a small house in Richfield on November 3, 1953. 15 people were served with the help of eight volunteers and one staff person. Operating budget was $8,500.