About Us

Our Mission is rooted in 70 years of experience

Mission

Together we advance the quality of life for people with disabilities.

Vision

People of all abilities thrive in the world.

Values

  • Impact – Generate solutions that make a difference.
  • Choice – Create opportunities for people to lead self-directed lives.
  • Heart – Promote the dignity and worth of each other.
  • Partnership – Facilitate change through relationships, collaboration and advocacy.

Our History

Opportunity Partners was established in 1953 by parents who wanted a better life for their children with disabilities. Since the beginning, we have focused on the strengths and abilities of people.

We started in a small house in Richfield, Minnesota, where a handful of young adults with disabilities did light packaging, giving them a sense of pride and an opportunity to build work skills and friendships.

Over the years we’ve grown, today providing employment, enrichment and residential services to 1,200 people annually. Our award-winning, person-centered services help people with disabilities be a part of the community, establish rewarding careers, expand social connections and reach goals for greater independence.

We know that when all people have a chance to be accepted and included, our world is better. We are stronger together!

Timeline of Opportunity Partners

Original Opportunity Workshop house

1950s

Opportunity Workshop was founded in a small house in Richfield on November 3, 1953. With an operating budget of $8,500, 15 people were served by multiple volunteers and one staff person. By the end of the decade, seven Opportunity Workshop trainees were placed in competitive community jobs, ranging from messenger to factory worker.

black and white photo of people working on production

1960s

More space was needed as Opportunity Workshop continued to grow, with applicants from all over Minnesota. By 1967, the expanded facilities were expected to serve 200 people.

Large building under construction

1970s

Opportunity Workshop’s residential services began with the opening of Clara Doerr residence. The main facility moved to its present location in Minnetonka with room to serve over 500 people under one roof. In 1977, Senator and Mrs. Hubert H. Humphrey attended Opportunity Workshop’s open house!

Black and white photo of woman on bike

1980s

Opportunity Workshop became the largest adult day activity program in Minnesota, with 300 people served. The Autism Program was established to provide community and on-site work for those with autism. Brain Injury Services began assisting survivors of brain injury with employment services and opened offices in downtown Minneapolis.

Woman smiling working in McDonalds

1990s

Opportunity Workshop became Minnesota’s largest organization serving the vocational and residential needs of adults with developmental disabilities or brain injury with over 800 people served. In 1996, Opportunity Workshop changed its name to Opportunity Partners to better reflect its services. Opportunity Partners Brain Injury Services opened a Community Integration Services office. Semi-Independent Living Services (SILS) expanded to Anoka County, Karlins Center opened.

Four men sitting around table outside on a deck

2002-2005

Opportunity Partners provided personalized education, housing and employment to more than 1,200 people served with developmental disabilities, brain injury, autism and other special needs. OP now had 31 vocational and residential sites throughout the Twin Cities. OP started a Day Training and Habilitation (DTH) program in Anoka County, joining the Semi-Independent Living Services (SILS) residential program already in place. OP expanded its residential footprint with the purchase of 13 group homes in the Twin Cities as people began to transition from larger disability facilities into community housing.

Group of people in kitchen

2006-2010

Opportunity Partners opened Golden Opportunity, a day program for seniors with developmental disabilities. The Minnetonka location underwent a major renovation and expansion, and was dedicated the Koch Technical and Training Campus after long-time supporters David and Babs Koch. OP launched its first Certified Learning Platform.

Two women in a kitchen smiling next to the dishwasher

2011-2015

Opportunity Partners opened Homebase apartment living and community-based services for people with autism and other disabilities. In 2013, OP celebrated 60 years of success in helping people with disabilities live, learn and work more independently. Armando Camacho was hired as President & CEO. Opportunity Partners’ Committee of Advocacy & Leadership (COAL) earned statewide recognition by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits in the area of Advocacy.

Group of people holding an award

2016-2019

OP celebrated 65 years of success in 2018! OP-Asplin Center’s art program earned a state Life Enrichment Award through MOHR, recognizing the program’s role in growth, increased confidence and community engagement. 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, many people rallied to support OP and the three men who called Ensign their home. The home was later rebuilt and reopened, thanks to the support of a caring community.

Man and woman wearing masks holding

2020-Present

Bill Schultz was promoted to OP’s President & CEO after leading our Business Services for five years. The COVID-19 pandemic closed down our day services for several months starting in March 2020, with a gradual reopening in the summer. Virtual Services, developed in 2020, continued to be a popular option for people not ready to return in person. OP held its first-ever virtual Gala, drawing new supporters and excitement for our organization and raising over $350,000.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Our mission of advancing the quality of life for people with disabilities also calls our organization to support all individuals in a way that empowers them to live to their greatest potential. Our call to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is rooted in our organizational values of Impact, Choice, Heart and Partnership. To create a stronger organization, more voices must be heard. We want to build a more inclusive organization where all people have opportunities to thrive, regardless of race, color, creed, ability, gender identity or sexual orientation. We intend to be a place for everyone to belong.

Staff members laughing together

"Love. Where. You. Work"

Come work for an organization that values inclusivity! At Opportunity Partners, one of the largest nonprofits in the Twin Cities, we provide award-winning, mission-centered services for adults with disabilities. We are seeking caring and passionate individuals like YOU to support people in day programs, employment, and residential settings. Apply today to join our team and make a meaningful impact in the lives of those we serve!

Awards

2021 Life Enrichment Award – Virtual Services

Presented by the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation

 

2020 Life Enrichment Award – Engage With My Community

Presented by the Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation