OIC to mark 50th anniversary

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Opportunities Industrialization Center will honor students who have successfully met the guidelines and goals of its high school equivalency and trades certifications courses and celebrate its 50th anniversary at 6 p.m. on Thursday at the former Booker T. Washington High School auditorium.

“This year’s celebration will be different from most of our graduation ceremonies,” said Charles Washington, OIC’s director of education services. “Because it is our 50th year of bringing enlightenment to generations of eager minds and willing hands, we are going all out to celebrate our students’ success. Creative presentations from students, staff and community are going to be uplifting and exciting. Our graduates are enthused and our families are proud. This one is not to be missed.”

The graduation ceremony will feature remarks from OIC of America’s Chairman and CEO James Haynes.

“OICs throughout America have set the standard for state-of-the-art, community-based workforce development programming for more than 50 years,” Haynes said in a press release. “Our partnerships with the federal government, workforce development boards and industries have helped us bring stability and hope to millions of families throughout every region of the United States.

“OIC of America is proud of our Rocky Mount family and the great work they’ve accomplished throughout the years and look forward to many more years of serving the communities by helping people help themselves.”

Edgecombe Community College President Gregory McLeod will deliver the keynote address.

“It is an honor that OICA’s chairman and CEO is joining us, and we are blessed that Dr. McLeod is speaking to students and families that have worked with OIC and Edgecombe Community College together,” said Councilman Reuben Blackwell, president and CEO of the OIC. “It is fitting and exciting that we will now launch forward together for the next 50 years of progress and growth.”

The Rocky Mount OIC was founded in August 1969 to bring opportunities for employment in industrial and business sectors to people of color. The Rev. Dr. Leon Sullivan, a national civil rights advocate, worked with Rocky Mount leaders to open the first OIC in North Carolina.

Since then, thousands of graduates have received diplomas and certifications, according to a press release from the OIC, and other communities across the state have embraced OIC and its self-help concepts.

“The OIC of today now brings so many necessary and valuable services to all people and communities in and around Rocky Mount,” said Councilman Andre Knight, chairman of the OIC board. “OIC graduations are an exciting experience for our students and their families. We invite everyone to join us to congratulate and support our hard-working and dedicated students.”

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