Author: Admin

SOAR & POIC Teams Convene in Portland

by Michael Jackiewicz

Several members of the OICA team had the opportunity to visit Portland OIC and learn more about the work the Portland team is putting into improving their community and specifically how the Portland OIC crew is integrating the SOAR reentry initiative into their service model.

OICA was able to share lessons learned with the POIC SOAR team and in turn, take some promising practices back from Portland to share with other affiliates operating a SOAR program.

CADI: Seeking Dynamic Educators for Immediate Hire

CADI (Career and Academic Development Institute) is seeking dynamic, focused and accomplished educators for immediate hire. Please submit your resume for consideration.

Positions include:

– Special Education Coordinator

– Math Teacher

– Science Teacher

– Computer Teacher

Contact Dr. Pamela Thomas, Principal at pthomas@oicofamerica.org to submit your resume today!

OICA staff attend the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition Housing Resources Showcase

by Letitia Crippen, Program Manager

“Housing continues to be a critical barrier that is difficult to address in for the average American, and even more challenging for those with a blemish on their background.”

Because of rising costs due to gentrification in traditionally low income cities, and unfair housing practices, housing must be a priority to effectively reduce recidivism. OICA will continue to engage with the Philadelphia RC stakeholders to explore ways to better support our participants, not only in Philadelphia, but to share effective strategies with our network of affiliates.”

In February, the OICA program staff attended the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition’s 2019 Winter Stakeholder Meeting at the Office of the District Attorney in Philadelphia.  The meeting was filled with 11 agencies sharing housing resources and ways to address homelessness for the re-entry population. Their Housing Subcommittee worked tirelessly to develop the Navigating Existing Housing Resources Flowchart and Guide; which is a critical tool for our population since navigating housing in a large city can take on the character of an overwhelming labyrinth for anyone regardless of their background.

To access the resources shared click on the link below:
https://www.philadelphiareentrycoalition.org/single-post/2019/02/04/Winter-Quarterly-Stakeholder-Meeting-Recap

OIC DC Affiliate Visit by OICA and JobTrain OIC Leaders and Hope Sullivan during the “National Skills Summit” in DC

National Skills Coalition’s annual fly-in event was open to skills advocates from across the country. The event included two days of federal skills policy updates from experts in the field, a rundown of the Skills for Good Jobs Agenda, a menu of policy recommendations developed by workforce practitioners on the ground, and culminated in the year’s largest advocacy day ever for skills policy on Capitol Hill.

For more information about the summit visit https://www.nationalskillscoalition.org/resources/events/2019-skills-summit

OIC To Help Establish Employee Pipeline To Area Businesses

For Immediate Release:

January 21,2019

Chester County Opportunities Industrialization Center (CC-OIC) has opened in Coatesville and has a mission to train the unemployed and underemployed into long-term employment opportunities. Started by Rev. Leon Sullivan over 55 years ago, to meet the employment needs of disadvantaged individuals, CC-OIC offers workforce training and case management services for everyone, including young adults and adults who have been involved in the criminal justice system.

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OICA Explores National Reentry Collaboration

In January, Jason Whyte, Senior Director of Operations and Strategy, visited the Latino Coalition of Community Leadership (LCCL) to learn about the work they are doing to help returning citizens successfully transition back into their communities.  Both national organizations are contracted by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to provide employment-related trainings and supportive services to returning citizens, through the Employment and Training Association (ETA) department’s Reentry Employment Opportunity (REO).

After numerous meetings between Whyte and Richard Morales, Deputy Executive Director (LCCL), over the three-day visit, both organizations discovered that they function with very similar philosophies.  Both organizations employ evidence-based and informed practices with a sober understanding that local adaptation is necessary; no one model is fully transferable to all communities. The organizations are also acutely aware that buy-in and commitment from leadership, a team of talented people, a culture of learning, and proper management of data and performance measurement, are foundational for successful reentry programming. 

Morales introduced Whyte to associates and partners of LCCL, such as Christie Donner, Executive Director of Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition (CCJRC); Johanna Leal, Principal Consultant with the Alliance for Criminal Justice Innovation (ACJI); Leo Alirez, Executive Director of Lifeline; and Hassan Latif, Executive Director of the Second Chance Center. Together, these players are working to slash recidivism in Denver, Colorado.  

OICA and LCCL will continue to discuss creative and innovative ways both national organizations can partner to tackle this national problem. 

Photo Caption: From Left to Right: Richard Morales, Deputy Executive Director (LCCL); Christie Donner, Executive Director (CCJRC); Jason Whyte, Senior Director of Operations and Strategy (OICA)

Louis King, CEO of Summit Academy OIC featured on “Think Tank” CBS affiliate podcast

Recently, our very own Louis King, CEO of Summit Academy OIC was a guest on a CBS affiliate podcast in Minneapolis, MN. discussing Summit’s efforts to get low income people and people of color into STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) jobs.  This conversation resulted from Summit’s success with its first IT class where 17 of 19 graduates got jobs paying $17.00/hr. after also having a Paid Internships at $12.50/hr.

Summit’s next venture is to offer STEM exposure to kids as young as pre-school.  STEM starts to help kids at any age develop effective problem-solving techniques and helps set them on a path of lifelong learning and an appreciation for math and science.

They also have plans for a Gaming League and are launching a company, “STEM NATION”, which will allow for potential replication across the country.  The podcast introduced Summit Academy OIC to a broad and diverse audience, while also connecting them to industry insiders in the Mid-west Region of the country.  The discussion is certainly worth a listen as we continue to consider how to position OIC as a leader in workforce development.  Summit’s STEM strategy seems viable regardless of the size or location of the affiliate.  “We see no Alps.”

Click link below to listen!

https://omny.fm/shows/synapse/synapse-think-tank-of-the-air-episode-25-1-4-19

From Incarceration to Employment

AMTC & Associates News – January/February

Amir Williams describes himself as “deep in the streets” from a very young age. He spent his teenage years at a school for at-risk youth, which the courts required him to attend. At age 19, he was arrested for armed robbery and spent more than a year in state prison. Upon release, he struggled to abide by probation requirements and was again incarcerated.
 
Then an experience in the summer of 2018 changed his life forever: his probation officer referred him to a reentry program through Philadelphia OIC, an affiliate of the Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America (OICA). Individuals who have been incarcerated are finding hope and stability through OICA, an organization headquartered in Philadelphia with 34 affiliates around the country. OICA affiliates provide educational and workforce development services to individuals in struggling communities.
 
Awarded four reentry grants by the U.S. Department of Labor, OICA coordinates programming and oversees its delivery for affiliates involved in this type of work. It is a leader in reintegrating individuals into society by fostering self-sufficiency in every facet of life: employment, family responsibilities, financial literacy and emotional stability.
 
Williams was referred to Philadelphia’s OIC’s SOAR program. He had already been in a series of reentry programs, but none had been effective. He was distrustful and detached, which again led to probation issues. The staff at Philadelphia OIC worked with him and the probation officer to form trust.
 
That summer, Williams enrolled in a housekeeping program through Philadelphia OIC’s Hospitality Training Institute. He was on time every day and earned the second-
highest grades in the class. He secured an internship that turned into a paying job, and now he is forging a better life.
 
OICA affiliates provide an array of workforce development functions and programs that are transforming lives. Success rates are high, but not all participants are ready to change their environment or summon the strength to change behavior. Yet OICA and its affiliates are not deterred; they believe everyone deserves a chance.






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