| Program: || OpNet: The Multimedia Opportunities Program, San Francisco, CA |
| Contact(s): || Dan Geiger, Program Director: (415) 648-9491 |
| Purpose: || To assist economically disadvantaged young people of color in gaining employment in the multimedia industry |
OpNet: The Multimedia Opportunities Program is a project of the Local Economic Assistance Program, the nonprofit affiliate of a community development bank located in Oakland. Founded in August 1997, OpNet was designed to promote community participation in the rapidly growing San Francisco Bay Area multimedia industry. A number of factors led OpNet to focus on the multimedia industry. The size of the industry and the number of job opportunities in it are expected to grow well into the next decade. In addition, jobs in the multimedia industry have a high earning potential compared to many other opportunities. Employers place a great premium on creative talent for these positions, and young people have a natural advantage in securing jobs in this industry because their early exposure to computers and video games reduces their barriers to acquiring the requisite expertise.
OpNet provides one month of software and job-readiness training to participants who then are placed in four-month paid internships in multimedia companies. The on-the-job experience allows the participants to develop the skills, understanding of workplace culture and contacts that will enable them to secure well-paid contracts or permanent work in the industry. OpNet operates the program by building collaborative efforts among businesses, community-based organizations and local government. Specifically, OpNet contracts the training services to agencies that are skilled in helping low-income youth learn how to work in an office environment as well as learn about specific software. OpNet also identifies enterprises that are good locations for multimedia interns. Examples of such businesses include those involved in designing Websites, providing content on the Internet, developing CD-ROMs and producing video and film. OpNet is responsible for negotiating the terms of internship placement, monitoring intern progress, evaluating program effectiveness and raising and managing funding for internship stipends and other program-related costs.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
Since its inception in August 1997, OpNet has trained 14 interns. All of the interns were from low-income backgrounds and were between 17 and 24 years old. Of the 14 interns, 10 have been placed in paid internships, and four have been hired full time by their employers. One trainee obtained a full-time job shortly after the training. In summary, the program has placed 11 of the 14 initial interns. The success of the program has generated significant interest. As word of its success has spread in the community, over 100 people have applied to become interns. OpNet has a web site at http://www.opnetsf.org.