SUNSET PARK - A Brooklyn service organization has been training career-oriented youths in simulated workplaces for almost a quarter of a century.
Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT) helps about 240 people between the ages of 17 and 21 each year. Participants come to OBT centers in professional dress, punch a time clock and complete work assignments under deadline. Youths also receive GED preparation, if needed, computer training and they also practice their interviewing skills.
Trainees say the help is appreciated. "It really does help you once you're there and you realize, wow, this is what I'm really going to have to deal with," says Michael Nazario. He believes the years he spent in high school don't measure up to the few meaningful months he's spent in the program.
Sister Mary Franciscus, who passed away last year, founded OBT in 1983 in Sunset Park. OBT opened a second center in 2001 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant/Bushwick area. According to the organization, many of its graduates have gone on to have successful careers at law firms, in financial services and other white-collar businesses.