Category: Blog

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.






Chester County OIC getting new headquarters

Nov 19, 2018

COATESVILLE — Chester County Commissioners Michelle Kichline, Kathi Cozzone and Terence Farrell recently presented a check for $300,000 to representatives of Chester County Opportunities Industrialization Center.

The funds, made available through a community development block grant, have been used to purchase a new primary office location for Chester County Opportunities Industrialization Center in the City of Coatesville.

“It is great to be back home!” said Joyce Chester, Chester County OIC president and CEO. “The City of Coatesville is where Chester County OIC began nearly 40 years ago,” she said. “The opportunity to come back into the City from West Chester was the perfect move for us, and it is the first time that we will own our own home.”

“We thank the Chester County Commissioners and the county’s Department of Community Development for making this dream come true,” she added.

Chester County Opportunities Industrialization Center’s vision is to be leaders in improving the lives of disadvantaged adults by creating educational and employment opportunities.

Along with ongoing programs offered by Chester County OIC, including GED, English Language Acquisition and Certified Nurse Aid, the organization’s new SOAR re-entry program — a strategy that addresses the range of challenges faced by formerly incarcerated young adults who are trying to make a successful transition back into their communities — will serve as a resource to youth ages 18-24 in Coatesville and throughout the County.

Chester County OIC’s new location is 22 N. 5th Avenue, Coatesville, PA 19320.

Affiliate Spotlight: OIC Tri-County BookyMobile on the Move

History of the BookyMobile

Submitted by:  Jeffrey C. Woodyard, Executive Director of Tri-County OIC

In 2008, Tri-County OIC created the OIC BookyMobile – a travelling bookmobile for kids and adults. The idea of the BookyMobile started when the OIC executive director realized that many low-income children and their parents did not have access to enough books at home. Schools were struggling to provide books to students and access to libraries was limited to those who lacked transportation and resources.

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OIC of America Awarded Two U.S. Department of Labor Reentry Grants Totaling $8,787,369

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: July 20, 2018
Contact: Naja Killebrew, Communications Manager
Phone: 215-236-4500 (w), 215-518-6558 (c)
Email: nkillebrew@oicofamerica.org
Website: www.oicofamerica.org

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

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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.

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