Category: Uncategorized

Tune in to the Wall Street Journal’s “Community Conversations: The Impact of Re-Entry Programs” with OIC of America’s very own Lètitia A. Crippen

Re-entry programs across the country are helping people re-enter the workplace amid new challenges with Covid-19 and a tightened job market. Join Lètitia A. Crippen, Senior Program Manager for OIC of America, Caitlin Dawkins, Program Manager at FHI 360 National Institute for Work and Learning and Kerri Pruitt, Executive Director at The Dannon Project, as they discuss working with formerly incarcerated people to start new lives and the roles of communities and employers in that journey.

#reentry#philadelphia#oicofamerica#COVID19 To view this discussion on Thursday, July 23, 2020, at 1:00 pm EST. Please use this event link:

Department of Labor funds OIC of America to serve 5000 returning citizens by 2023, with 2000 served in Pennsylvania



July 10, 2020

Philadelphia, PA.  – The National Headquarters of ‘Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America (OICA) of Philadelphia, PA.  For more than 55 years, OIC of America and its 31 affiliates in 21 states continue to offer proven programs and strategies that address the overlapping inequities and systemic disinvestment in communities of color. This investment by the US Department of Labor allows us to serve more people and prepare them for meaningful employment and a pathway to a career while providing additional supports that assist them with becoming contributing members of this society. Through this current opportunity, the OICA network will serve more than 2,000 participants who are currently or formerly involved in the criminal justice system in the following locations:

  • MN – North and South Minneapolis
  • FL – Broward and Miami-Dade Counties
  • PA – Philadelphia, Harrisburg, & Norristown
  • NC – Greater Rocky Mount 

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Happy JUNETEENTH from OIC of America

History of JUNETEENTH –

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

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Montgomery County begins COVID19 contact tracing at Norristown test site

Photo Credit: ABC12 News

NORRISTOWN — Montgomery County officials have begun contact tracing at a COVID-19 testing site in Norristown and a more widespread program could be in place as early as next week, according to officials.

“We have actually already started some contact tracing through our Norristown-based community testing site. Anyone tested at that site, we’re now able to do contact tracing,” county Commissioners’ Chairwoman Dr. Valerie Arkoosh said during a Wednesday news briefing.

Contact tracing programs are a major component of Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to reopen counties and their economies across the state. Contact tracing involves identifying those with who an infected person has been in close contact so they can self-quarantine to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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OIC of America Condemns Racism and Fights for Social Justice

We have all heard it before, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” The unjust treatment and senseless killing of Black people in this country must stop now.

The Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America (OICA) and its network of Affiliates is devastated by the senseless murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and the countless other victims of systemic racism and ethnic intolerance.  This pain of injustice has plagued our communities for far too long.  We stand against racially biased policing and the acts of state-sanctioned violence and brutality that continues to disproportionately impact black and brown people in this nation, and across the world.

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OIC’s Feeding America – One Community at a Time

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.  

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Chester County OIC SOAR Success Story – Roberto B.

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.

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Rocky Mount OIC SOAR Success Story – Michale Liggins

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. 

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Philadelphia OIC SOAR Success Story – Khalil Shields

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.

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A Message from the President regarding COVID-19 (Updated)

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.

COVID-19 Legislative Updates: Roundup of Federal, State, and Local Actions (The Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia)


  • The Senate is observing a two-week Independence Day recess while the House is using the next two weeks for a Committee work period. The legislative session is set to resume on July 20.

  • With COVID-19 hitting record numbers, there is now clear bipartisan, bicameral support in Congress and support in the White House for another phase of economic relief and assistance legislation.

  • Republicans are committed to capping the cost of the fourth phase of COVID-19 relief at $1 trillion.

  • The House Appropriations Committee continues to release and markup FY2021 appropriations bills in an effort to pass the spending bills before their August recess. The Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to schedule a release for its FY2021 spending bill drafts.

  • Spending measures in the House proposals address areas of interest to Chamber members including: health care research and innovation, economic development, higher education, public media, transportation and infrastructure, and defense funding.


  • Gov. Tom Wolf announced $53 million in additional financial support for child care providers that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure adequate capacity is available in the future.

  • The Wolf Administration announced that 309 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations will receive grants totaling $2.3 million to help with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to sign two police reform bills passed by the state House and Senate that would require law enforcement agencies to conduct background checks on new applicants and provide mental-health screenings for law enforcement officials.

  • The state House passed legislation seeking to ensure Gov. Tom Wolf gets the approval of the Legislature before entering into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) interstate compact.

  • The Chamber will host Gov. Wolf’s Chief of Staff, Mike Brunelle for a virtual gathering on July 21.


  • Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia have exceeded 27,000 with over 1,600 deaths.

  • The City announced details of its partnership with North Broad Renaissance (NBR) to help local businesses reopen safely through NBR’s Reopen with Care campaign.

  • The deadline for businesses to apply to the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been extended to August 8, 2020.

  • The Emergency Paid Sick leave bill received a first reading in Council on June 25. The bill has been amended to exempt businesses with under 500 employees and to sunset at the end of the calendar year thanks in part to advocacy efforts of the Chamber.

  • The Chamber will host Managing Director Brian Abernathy (July 22) and Commerce Director Sylvie Gallier Howard for Council Connectors virtual events in the coming weeks.

For detailed Federal, State, and Local Legislative Updates follow the link below.

CDC Recommends (Updated)

  • Everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:

Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings, Especially in Areas of Significant Community-Based Transmission

CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States.  We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.  In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.  CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators.  Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.

This recommendation complements and does not replace the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, 30 Days to Slow the Spreadexternal icon, which remains the cornerstone of our national effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.  CDC will make additional recommendations as the evidence regarding appropriate public health measures continues to develop.

Click the link below to find the CDC’s video on how to make your own face covering.

OICA will update this site regularly with important information from the CDC. However, please visit this link for more information: CDC advice:

Despite the threat posed by COVID-19, the OIC Network remains committed to serving you and your families. You are part of our family, and together we will get through this situation.


James Haynes


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.




Join us for Moving Mountains: Celebrating The Principles and Purposes of Rev. Dr. Leon H. Sullivan on Friday, April 23rd at 1pm RSVP at! #MovingMountains20Years #DrSullivan20Years #OICA #GM


How it all began...... Did you know this about Dr. Sullivan? Join us for Moving Mountains: Celebrating The Principles and Purpose of Rev. Dr. Leon H. Sullivan on Friday, April 23rd at 1pm. RSVP at #MovingMountains20Years #DrSullivan20Years


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