About Us

listening, patience,
& respect for all

Our History

Opportunities Unlimited of Erie (OU) is an independently run, registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that was officially acquired by our current management in 2020.

OU’s overall goal is to assist individuals who participate in services with the state’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). When a client is referred to us for individual services from OVR, we work with their current skills set to determine the best course of action.  Building upon their skills and meeting them where they are allows our staff to support each client before, during, and after being hired on by a company. Each client that participates in our individual services works closely and 1-on-1 with a Workplace Readiness Specialist (Job Coach) to establish clear, specific goals to work towards throughout the program. Our Job Coaches provide weekly & monthly reports to track the progress of these goals throughout their employment period in the program.

Prior to 2020
The organization, owned by a different entity, focused solely on adults with mental health disabilities looking to reintegrate into the workforce. Once our current leadership acquired the organization, the overall mission changed drastically, expanding to include services for students, middle-high school, as well as working with individuals with any type of disability, challenges, or barriers to employment.

Today, OU has continued growing under the decade+ guidance & expertise of our Executive & Associate Directors. Our organization provides individual services for students & adults, as well as group classroom instruction for students prior to graduation.

Recognizing the ever-growing need for our services within Erie County, our Executive Director began the search for additional leadership to join the team. In the Spring of 2023, our Associate Director joined the team, bringing along 15+ years of experience & expertise in the social & human services industry.
In the Summer of 2023, OU of Erie began providing group programs for high school students in addition to the individual services being provided. Throughout the last 4 years of individual services for young adults and up, we found the need to begin working with individuals while they were still high school students in order to better prepare them for life after graduation. We have worked within multiple school districts in Erie County, providing 30-60 hour programs that include, but aren’t limited to, classroom instruction, interview/resume prep, pre-employment requisite paperwork practice, financial literacy, leadership & team/communication building, off-site workplace & trade school tours, general life skills & self-advocacy, and so much more.

In the first 6 months of 2024, OU has brought on new employees who are excited about the current & future impact the organization can provide. In March 2024, we welcomed our Public Relations & Development Coordinator and a few months following, welcomed our Workplace Readiness Specialist to the team. The growth of our organization is allowing us to further expand our reach into the local community and branch out to provide additional individual & group services.

Strategic Transformation Project – June 2024 – Present
Beginning in June 2024 and continuing today, Opportunities Unlimited of Erie is undergoing a Strategic Transformation Project, including working with our leadership & staff, board members, and community stakeholders to evaluate our mission and goals.

Re-Brand Aspect – Realizing the need to re-introduce & re-establish the organization to the community, the decision was made to include a re-branding aspect to the overall project. The re-brand included a fresh, new look with a more relevant design by updating our current colors and font choices, and creating a new logo for the organization. Following the new logo, our website received an update to the overall design as well as making sure it continues to be user-friendly, accessible, and ADA-compliant.

EqualWeb Accessibility Feature – As part of our re-brand project, OU of Erie understood the need for a website that is user-friendly and accessible for all who visit in search of our services. We use the EqualWeb platform that provides accessibility tools including:
– Text Reader & Readable Mode
– Virtual Keyboard
– Overall/Text Magnifier
– Image Descriptions
– Ability to change to a preferred readable font
– Highlight Links/Headers Tool
– Enlarge Buttons
– Monochrome Feature
– Dark-High/Bright-High Contrast Modes
– Enlarge/Change Color of Cursor Tool
– Sizing Tool – Font sizing, letter spacing, & line spacing

While ongoing, this project will provide a framework for our leadership to actively steer the organization toward our intended impact while embracing the ever-evolving philanthropic landscape in Erie County.

What Sets Us Apart

Our values make us different from the rest! We’re not just a job placement service; we provide all the training and skills individuals need to start their career. And we do it all with kindness, without forgetting our core values.

At OU we believe every individual has the possibility of leading a productive and successful life and that everyone has the potential to engage in meaningful employment. We believe in the virtues of listening, patience, and respect for all and welcome the unique talents and diverse experience of our clients and employees.

Our Team

Marquis Wallace
Executive Director
Andrea Baker
Public Relations & Development Coordinator
Jason Nowacinski
Associate Director
Amanda Anderson
Career Readiness Specialist

Our Board Members

The Opportunities Unlimited Board oversees the organization to further push our mission. Our Board of Directors exhibit the following: leadership, organizational mission, conscientious recruitment of new board members, attention to policy and planning, participation in fundraising, maintaining a professionally and demographically diverse board, effective governance practices, and responsible fiscal management.

Interested in taking on the role of an OU of Erie board member? Contact us today!

Elizabeth Edwards

Patricia Kennedy


W. Russell McDaid

Callie Arney

Donor Opportunities

Opportunities Unlimited is only able to keep our job training and employment services open with the support of the community. By donating, you’re becoming a partner in our mission to restore hope to Erie individuals and families. By your donations we can help place more individuals into jobs in our community.