Project Opportunity was founded on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 2010 as an alternative to traditional employment for veterans and to combat the high veteran unemployment rate within the State of Maryland. The strategy was to pilot the program on the Eastern Shore and if it proved to be successful to explore options to expand to other areas within Maryland.
In 2013 Project Opportunity, partnering with the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, received a grant from the Wal Mart Foundation in the amount of $25,000.00 which was used to allow expansion of the program by providing courses in Annapolis, Columbia, and Southern Maryland. Additional funding sources were obtained to sustain these classes.
We have had a total of six (6) additional classes in Anne Arundel County (including the recently concluded Spring 2019 Class); two (2) additional classes in the Columbia area, and six (6) additional classes in Southern Maryland with another class scheduled for the Fall 2019 Class Schedule.
In the Fall of 2016 Project Opportunity was contacted by the Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation Services located in Baltimore to discuss the possibility of conducting a class for their customers. We received a $5000.00 grant from the VA Maryland Health Care System Vocational Rehabilitation Services Compensated Work Therapy Program which was used towards conducting a class for Disabled and Homeless Veterans in the Baltimore Region. Additional funding sources were obtained to continue classes in the Baltimore area with two (2) more classes and a third one scheduled for the Fall 2019 Class Schedule.
In 2018 we were able to secure funding to conduct our first class in Prince George’s County which was held in the Spring of 2019 with twelve (12) veterans graduating. We have our second class scheduled for the Fall 2019 Class Schedule.
Project Opportunity has been able to secure funding to sustain all the current class levels and is currently working on additional funding to expand again into the Carrol County region of Maryland.
Project Opportunity has received a total of $109,600.00 in funding since July 1, 2017. PNC and BB&T have become annual sponsors of our program. We have received grants from the Kahlert Foundation, Safeway Foundation, Rural Maryland Council, Tri County Council of Southern Maryland, Overwatch Alliance, the Lower Shore Workforce Alliance, the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation and TowerCares Foundation We have received sponsorships from TEDCO, St. Mary’s County Department of Economic Development, Charles County Department of Economic Development, Calvert County Department of Economic Development, the Allegis Group Foundation, Wells Fargo, Community Bank of the Chesapeake, fraternal organizations, and private sector businesses.
Our schedule of Fall 2019 Classes all has funds on hand and we have obligated funds for two (2) classes in the Spring of 2020, one in Howard County (funding to be provided by the Kahlert Foundation) and the other in Prince George’s County (funding to be provided by Employ Prince George’s, Inc).