The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected marginalized communities around the country, and many OIC affiliates are stepping in to help provide healthy food options and personal hygiene items to those who need it most. We wanted to share some of the inspirational stories captured and reported on local media through Radio, TV and Print that display OIC’s resilience and commitment to bring relief during this time of crisis. The below stories cover Montgomery County OIC, ABCCM an Affiliate of OIC, Summit Academy OIC and Chester County OIC.
Roberto was referred to CCOIC by the director of a local homeless shelter. At 19 years old he was kicked out of his home by his stepfather. As a homeless youth, Roberto carried a pocketknife in his backpack for protection. When school officials discovered he had a knife, they expelled him halfway through his senior year. Although expelled, he was given the option to complete his schoolwork on-line. The entire SOAR staff worked in tandem with the shelter director to put in place a mechanism for Roberto to be able to complete his schoolwork. With our help providing a safe space with computer access and job preparation opportunities, Roberto has been successfully keeping up with school while also receiving a job placement to begin earning some much needed income.
Mr. Michale Liggins enrolled in the Young Adult SOAR Program on March 20, 2019 as a 19-year-old homeless participant. He came in with a determination to obtain a GED and also full-time employment. Since being enrolled in the program Mr. Liggins has made much progress. The SOAR Program made sure Mr. Liggins had the housing he needed by referring him to partners, and enrolled him into the GED program in Fall of 2019 where he is close to receiving his High School Equivalency. During this time he also received job placement at Golden Corral on August 12, 2019.
Khalil Shields started his journey with the SOAR program at Philadelphia OIC in November of 2019. Khalil is a funny & light-hearted person. When he came to the program he was on house arrest but still took the initiative to use that time constructively and advance his goals. Khalil enrolled in training for construction with the Energy Coordinating Agency. Khalil’s positive attitude and sense of humor served him well and helped him overcome any challenges he faced. Khalil completed his training with the Energy Coordinating Agency on February 14th, 2020, and earned his OSHA 10 and other certificates.
The spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has all of our attention. I wanted to let you know the OIC Network is doing everything possible to keep our employees, clients, and community members, safe while delivering essential services.
What We’re Doing
We’re monitoring and following all guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), including taking the steps necessary to reduce the threat of COVID-19 exposure to employees and clients. Our affiliates, in many cases, remain open to serve you. Each affiliate has an emergency management plan, in accordance with their state, on how to proceed in our current climate. Some locations have had their hours adjusted as a result of local conditions. For the latest updates on affiliate hours, you can visit the websites of your local affiliate.
The OICA team visited the auditorium in Rocky Mount where Dr. Martin Luther King gave the original “I have a dream” address. The below article gives historical background on his visit to Rocky Mount.
By Michael Hill
Research Branch, NC Office of Archives and History, 2006
OIC of America visited OIC of Wilson to learn about how they’re providing skills training and implemented SOAR to help North Carolina’s returning citizens. The OIC of America team was treated to unrivaled southern hospitality and a host of promising practices to bring to the network.
Last year, Rosemary Anderson received a generous $100,000 grant from Intel as part of the She Will Connect initiative, solidifying efforts to get more girls interested in STEM fields. The year-long project culminated in a hugely successful Tech/STEM Fair in January. Students and staff hosted 250 guests, including Intel representatives and POIC Board members, and three hard-working scholars received laptops for having the most impressive exhibits. Way to go, RAMS!
All, some exciting news!
In case you didn’t receive or may have missed this important Executive Leadership Announcement, Judge Reneé Caldwell Hughes, who served on the Philadelphia bench for 15 years before moving on to serve in the role as President and CEO of the Regional Red Cross, has joined the Philadelphia OIC organization as it’s new President and CEO. Please join me in welcoming Reneé to the OIC family. The press release announcement is below.
Also of note, I think it is important that we also give praise and our appreciation to Charles Crumbley, Philadelphia OIC’s former Interim President and CEO, for a job well done. Charles faithfully served in this capacity for 19 months as they conducted their executive search. We wish Charles and his family all the best and thank him for his service to OIC.
James Haynes, OICA President and CEO
Elton Jolly was one of the original members of the OIC movement with Dr. Leon H. Sullivan. Elton’s impact helped shaped OIC into the powerhouse of an organization that it would become and is still impacting lives in a positive way some 55 years later in 2019. Given Elton’s impact on OIC in the formative years, I thought it important to share with you an excerpt from his testimony before the House of Representatives in 1978 to give you some insights into his thinking regarding poor people in this country and what was needed to improve their situation and the role OIC would play.
On Friday, August 30th, President and Board Chair, James Haynes, and OICA Celebrity Ambassador, Gerald Alston, had the pleasure of interviewing with Patty Jackson of WDAS to discuss the program and much more.
ROGER A. MITCHELL, JR. MD
Dr. Mitchell is a board-certified Forensic Pathologist and serves as the Chief Medical Examiner of Washington DC. He is a world leader in forensic medicine. He has lectured in places like Bangladesh, Mumbai, Belize City, and Cairo. He is a leader in the fight against gun violence and recently appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe discussing gun violence as a public health issue. Dr. Mitchell is a licensed minister at New Bethel Baptist Church in Washington DC where he has the great privilege of serving Returning Citizens and their families as the Phoenix Minister.
Gerald Alston, the revered lead singer for the Grammy Award-winning R&B group the Manhattans, is the first entertainer to become a part of the new OICA Celebrity Ambassador Program(CAP). OICA Celebrity Ambassadors are leaders in the entertainment industry, representing the fields of film, television, music, sports and beyond.
The program is designed to help raise awareness about OICA/OIC and the work being done to support and enable the economically disadvantaged, unemployed and under-employed people of all races and backgrounds to become productive, more fulfilled members of society. This work is being done through a Network of 35 Affiliates located in 22 states around the US. The organization’s motto is “Helping People Help Themselves “and Gerald Alston is a huge advocate of helping others to reach their full potential.
Date: July 3, 2019
SOAR program expands from eleven to twelve affiliates and program partners in seven states
Philadelphia, PA – OIC of America (OICA) was awarded a new three-year U.S. DOL Reentry Grant totaling $4,500.000 which will expand its SOAR program. Starting July 1, 2019, this grant will serve adults 25 years of age and older. This represents a total of 5 grants awarded to OICA as an intermediary in the past three years, bringing their U.S. DOL Reentry total awards to $22.2 million dollars and more importantly serving approximately 3000 returning citizens. This award allowed OICA to expand their current program from eleven Affiliates and program partners to twelve, covering six states, which is 32% of their affiliate network, and 27% of their current U.S. state coverage.
Gerald Alston Celebrity Ambassador Promotional Video
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.”
OIC network expands to St. Paul, Minnesota, further strengthening HAP’s technical expertise and investment in workforce development
St. Paul, MN – OIC of America, Inc. announced today that Hmong American Partnership (HAP), based in St. Paul, MN., is joining the OIC network of affiliates. OIC of America, Inc., founded by Reverend Leon H. Sullivan (1922 – 2001) in 1964, serves as the national headquarters for OIC Affiliates. OIC is a nationally recognized organization focused on serving underrepresented people all over the country for more than 50 years, serving millions of participants in the areas of Work Readiness, Education, Reentry, Youth Development and Healthcare.
On Friday, June 7, 2019, OIC of America, is celebrating Reentry Month and the second anniversary of our SOAR reentry program by partnering with Philadelphia OIC and the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition to host our second annual Community Resource & Job Fair. The event is free to the public and partners, and will include music, face painting, games, refreshments, and an abundance of resources for the community.
On April 8th, OIC of America visited the SOAR program in OIC of South Florida. During the visit we conducted a formal review and visited partners.
On April 8th , Michael Jackiewicz, OICA Director of Quality Assurance & Lètitia Crippen, SOAR Program Manager visited OIC of South Florida’s referral partner Here’s Help. Here’s Help is an outpatient and inpatient facility servicing men from 14-24 years old who were formally incarcerated and or have drug & alcohol challenges. Their amazing facility has a full kitchen, music recording studio, gym, and more on site. Once a client completes their program, Here’s Help sends them to SOAR to receive training and job placement services. https://hereshelpinc.com/
Meet Kyrstal, who is more than a participant, but a leader amongst her peers. Kyrstal has overcome addiction, homelessness, and incarceration. Today, she is a proud SOAR ambassador and developed a program to empower women in the program.
“A second chance for me means that I am finally able to take matters into my own hands and continue to perfect my skills…”
The full Story
Krystal Perea overcame homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction and incarceration. Growing up with absent parents in a broken home, “paved a path of destruction” for her. She linked up with the wrong crowd and began selling and abusing drugs. She tried to get herself together by enrolling into CCP, which ended up being a mistake at the time because she was unable to focus and continue her education due to being homeless.
She displayed the resilience of a young woman looking to get her life back on track by focusing on being and staying sober, looking for solid support networks and by assessing careers. She enrolled in Power Corps and and developed relationships with mentors that are still involved in her life today and continues to serve as a support system and motivating factor(s) in her life to keep her on track to her successes in life.
She has become a SOAR participant and an Ambassador within the program. She serves as a very intricate spokesperson for the program and the participants alike. She has created and implemented an ongoing workshop for the young women in the program entitled; Salon Talks. Her value and worthiness to the program as a whole has been monumental to say the least.
“A second chance for me means that I am finally able to take matters into my own hands and continue to perfect my skills and master the crafts I am learning along the way. My overall goal is to use this opportunity to attain m y Associates Degree and become a Case Manager or an advocate for an organization that provides support to adverse youth and young adults. To quote Carl Bard; “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” This is what I live my life by because I feel that this is the journey I am taking currently and will continue to throughout the rest of my life.
Meet Austin Springer, a SOAR participant that has earned his Auto Inspection and his Forklift Certification, and now working as an Auto Technician. Through SOAR, Austin has maintained his persistent and desire to never give up until the career pathway goals are met. “Second chance means an opportunity to accomplish a goal despite the odds against you,” shares Austin when asked what a second chance means to him.
Press Release: State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta
HARRISBURG, March 26 — Working to cut government red tape and reform the criminal justice system, freshmen state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and Andrew Lewis, R-Dauphin, today unveiled their Fighting Chance Act legislation at a state Capitol press conference.
The bill would require state agencies overseeing occupational licensure and the Board of Probation and Parole to reduce red tape by 25 percent over the next three years, with the intent to eliminate unnecessary barriers for people trying to get into these important, licensed occupations.
“Pennsylvania has the potential to be the top state in the nation for jobs and opportunity, but we won’t achieve that goal without significant government reform,” Lewis said. “For example, our state has thousands of outdated regulations governing occupational licensure that are keeping good people out of the workforce and hindering our small businesses growth. We believe we can change that through the Fighting Chance Act.”
The bill also aims to reform the criminal justice system by calling for the removal of barriers to employment for people who have paid their debt to society.
“People who are incarcerated have to perform all types of work in the institutions in which they’re being held,” Kenyatta said. “If you have the training and expertise to do the work of an electrician, plumber, or barber, you should be able to get back to work when you have paid your debt. People deserve a path to redemption and a family-sustaining job. Those who are willing to work hard deserve the chance to do so; to deny them this chance is to doom them to a path of recidivism.”
Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs oversees 29 licensing boards that regulate more than 250 types of licenses and more than 1 million licensees across the commonwealth.
The lawmakers modeled their bill after one recently enacted by the Republican legislature and signed by the Democratic governor of Virginia to create a regulatory reduction pilot program. In that state, the pilot program lasts for three years and requires the agencies within the program to provide reports on their progress, including legislative changes necessary to help them reach their goal of reducing regulatory requirements. These agencies are also required to take any new regulatory action necessary to help them achieve their goal. The benefit of this approach is that agencies are given broad latitude to identify and select the specific regulations to cut, as long as they meet the 25 percent requirement and advance the primary objective, which is to make it easier for small business owners, returning citizens, and really anyone seeking licensure, to enter the workforce in a licensed occupation.
“We believe in good government and in reducing frivolous government regulations; in reforming the criminal justice system; in fighting for everyday workers, families, small business owners and returning citizens,” the lawmakers said. “We believe in giving all Pennsylvanians a fighting chance.”
In addition to Lewis and Kenyatta, the bill has collected 20 co-sponsors.
OICA is hiring a Program Coordinator to help ensure programming under OICA’s national re-entry program, SOAR, is operating in alignment with best practice models, federal regulations, and funder contracts. He/she works directly with executive leaders, program managers, and frontline staff.
Intern Job Description
OIC of America (OICA) is a community based nonprofit organization and the national office of a network of workforce development organizations. Our mission is to provide low-income people with the tools and support they need to overcome barriers to economic opportunity and social justice for families across America.
Reposted from ccoic.org
We are proud to say that this year our very own Joyce Chester, President and CEO of Chester County OIC, has been chosen as Woman of the Year. The recipient of Woman of the Year exemplifies outstanding contributions in the community through exemplary service. Congratulations, Joyce! We couldn’t think of a more worthy leader to receive this honor.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority hosted their Finer Womanhood: High Tea on Saturday, March 16, 2019. This year’s High Tea was held on the campus of West Chester University at Sykes Student Union 110 W. Rosedale Avenue West Chester, PA 19382 at 12pm. Finer Womanhood is an annual national observance of the Sorority that is celebrated from the last full week in February to the end of March. Every year since 1923 members of Zeta Phi Beta all over the world have annually devoted a special time to identifying and shining a light on women, youth and organizations who express the ideals of the sorority and have used their lives to leave an indelible impression on society
MediaNews Group Feb 18, 2019
COATESVILLE— State Senator Andy Dinniman recently visited the Chester County Opportunities Industrialization Center’s (OIC) new home in Coatesville to discuss ways to improve access to high school equivalency credentials for those who may not have a high school diploma.
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.
by Gay Puleo
NORRISTOWN — From forklift operator to nurse’s aide, Montgomery County OIC students are finding their career paths with the sort of intensive affordable training that might not otherwise have been attainable.
CADI (Career and Academic Development Institute) is seeking dynamic, focused and accomplished educators for immediate hire. Please submit your resume for consideration.
– Special Education Coordinator
– Math Teacher
– Science Teacher
– Computer Teacher
Contact Dr. Pamela Thomas, Principal at email@example.com to submit your resume today!
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:
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
For Immediate Release:
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.
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.