FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: July 20, 2018
Contact: Naja Killebrew, Communications Manager
Phone: 215-236-4500 (w), 215-518-6558 (c)
OIC of America Awarded Two U.S. Department of Labor Reentry Grants Totaling $8,787,369
SOAR program expands from seven to eleven affiliates and program partners in seven states
Philadelphia, PA – OIC of America (OICA) was awarded two three-year U.S. DOL Reentry Grants totaling $8,787,369 to expand its SOAR program. Starting July 1, 2018, one grant will serve Young Adults 18 – 24 years of age, with the second serving adults 25 years of age and older. This represents a total of four grants awarded to OICA as an intermediary in three years, bringing their U.S. DOL Reentry total awards to $17.8 million dollars. In this round of grants, OIC of America was the only intermediary grantee awarded two grants to service two demographics. This award allowed OICA to expand their current program from seven affiliates and program partners to eleven, covering six states, which is 29% of their affiliate network, and 27% of their current U.S. state coverage.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, these grants give organizations the opportunity to develop methods that maximize participants’ inclusion and integration into society, employment opportunities, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency. They intend to address the full range of challenges faced by justice-involved individuals transitioning back to the community. The Department awarded these grants to a combination of rural and urban projects located in high-crime, high-poverty communities. Awardees offer a range of services based on current evidence and proven research, as well as promising and emerging practices. The intent of the Reentry Projects grant program is to protect community safety by ensuring that participants who successfully exit the program are provided with positive opportunities to engage in employment or education; become productive, responsible, and law-abiding members of society; maintain long-term employment; and establish a stable residence.
These recent awards will be delivered as follows and OICA will serve as intermediary.
• Serving Adults – Clark County OIC – Portland OIC – Tri-County OIC – Philadelphia OIC – Total DOL dollars $4,424,458.
• Serving Young Adults – American Indian OIC – Rocky Mount OIC – Portland OIC – Chester County OIC – Total DOL dollars $4,362,911.
“We, as an organization, are honored to be able to do this work as we stand on the shoulders of our founder Leon H. Sullivan, for having the vision of creating an organization built to help those most in need. After 50+ years, we are still here, and still working to provide quality services for those who need us the most. With our “strength in numbers” approach leveraging best and promising practices, we’ve been able to replicate OIC South Florida’s reentry model program with enhancements. We are proud to have this vote of confidence from the Department of Labor as we work toward expanding our national programs. We thank Newton Sanon, President of OIC South Florida and his team for putting us on this important journey,” said James Haynes president and board chair of OICA.
Educational and community-based programs play a key role in OICA’s vision and mission. The OIC network administers programs in; vocational training, job readiness, healthcare, education, reentry, and youth development. OICA plans to continue the expansion of its national team to provide technical assistance, performance management, and support to its network of affiliates and program partners.
Background – OIC of America
In the 1960s, after leading selective patronage campaigns in Philadelphia to expose discriminatory hiring and opened thousands of jobs to African Americans. The Reverend Leon Sullivan (1922-2001) founded the Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), a vocational, educational, and life skills training program designed to prepare young men and women for full-time employment. The OIC organization quickly expanded into all corners of the city of Philadelphia and ultimately grew into a national and international movement that trained millions of workers from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Today, OIC of America (OICA) is a national network of community-based organization that delivers results-driven leadership in workforce development. The organization employs best and promising practice programing as targeted intervention to address nation-wide problems that affect the economically disadvantaged. One of these problems is mass incarceration coupled with the high rates of recidivism. Today, OICA has 34 affiliates in 22 states.
This workforce product (SOAR) was funded by an 8.7 million-dollar grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The product was created by the recipient and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This product is copyrighted by the institution that created it.
Jun 9, 2018
As an ex-offender, Kasim Ward is thankful for the opportunity to have a second chance.
The 20-year-old is currently tapping into OIC of Americas, Inc.’s re-entry program named SOAR (Skills and Opportunities for Achievement and Responsibility). Through its affiliate network, OICA aims to reduce recidivism by helping formerly incarcerated young adults between the ages of 18 to 24 successfully transition back into their communities.
“I appreciate the whole idea of reentry,” Ward said, as he spoke during an event held Friday afternoon to mark Re-entry Month and celebrate SOAR’s first year anniversary. “I learned from my mistakes. I made some mistakes that doesn’t truly represent me as an individual, but reentry has allowed me to be a better man for my daughter, for my family and for my community. I’m learning. I’m prospering, I’m building. I’m restoring myself.”
Community members, elected officials, corporate officials and OIC staff turned out for the celebration.
“Were in the business of changing lives and providing second chances,” said James Haynes, the president of the OICA and national board chair.
The SOAR program is currently being offered through seven OICA affiliates, including Philadelphia OIC.
“The national recidivism rate is 76.6 percent and this is unacceptable and this is why programs such as SOAR are so vital and so needed in Philadelphia and around the country,” said Charles Crumbley III, interim president of Philadelphia OIC.
“The best way to reduce recidivism is by meeting the returning citizen where he or she is at that stage in their lives and being a conduit to resources. Whether its basic fundamentals such as providing food, or transportation, educational life skills and vocational training, we do our best to meet the needs of our clients so that they can focus on acquiring the skills that they need to live sustainable lives.”
Philadelphia OIC currently has 60 SOAR program participants and seeks to have 120 people enrolled by the end of June. The organization is currently training participants for jobs in the areas of culinary arts, hospitality, retail and welding.
OICA received $9 million in federal grants for its affiliates to offer SOAR in Philadelphia; Harrisburg; Clark County, Ohio; Minneapolis, Minn.; Newark, N.J. and Miami.
Program participants are enrolled during a period ranging from six to 12 months depending on their educational background. They receive case management, education and training leading to industry-recognized credentials, workforce activities that lead to employment and nine months of follow-up activities.
OICA has formed partnerships with various organizations such as Uplift Solutions and Amachi, Inc. to conduct re-entry work.
During the press conference, state Rep. Curtis Thomas (D-Phila.) spoke about the importance of ensuring that returning citizens are able to become productive community members.
“Criminal justice in America is not about rehabilitation,” Thomas said. “It’s about punishment and hoping that punishment will teach others to avoid doing the same thing, but at the end of the day they are coming home and we’ve got to make sure that they are able to become productive members of their families, their communities, the city of Philadelphia and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
As part of the SOAR celebration, OICA held a job and resource fair at its Broad Street headquarters featuring employers, community service partners and justice partners.
“[South Florida OIC] truly is a blessing to the community by assisting the under-employed, unemployed, and ex-offenders population with training and job placement assistance programs.”
“This experience gave me the confidence to return to a normal life, a normal home, and the ability to use my homelessness to empower those who struggle as I have.”
“What a wonderful place with wonderful people that truly and genuinely want to help you!”
“Tremendous thanks to JobTrain and its financial supporters for giving me the opportunity to graduate in Culinary Arts….God Bless to you good people at JobTrain and EDD as well!!”
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OIC is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization preparing people for today's workforce with quality life skills development, fundamental education, superior job skills training, and employment readiness services.