OIC of America to Commemorate 50th Anniversary

Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center (POIC), a leading provider of alternative education, family outreach, mentoring, job skill training, workforce development and placement services, is pleased to be participating at the OIC 50th Anniversary Celebration & Conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, June 12-15, 2014.

The conference theme, “The Man, the Mission, the Movement,” is a culmination of the work started in 1964 by Reverend Leon H. Sullivan. The event will commemorate the accomplishments of an organization dedicated to providing training and job placement to those in need. Further celebrations will include a gala to be held on June 14th. This year, POIC will have two representatives attending this event.

The OIC started out of a movement to give opportunities for disadvantaged people to get jobs in a time when jobs were denied to people based on their race. That movement, known as Selective Patronage, with the basic principle of “don’t buy where you can’t work,” was enough of an economic stimulus to encourage companies to open the door of employment to all members of the community. Developed by Reverend Sullivan and 400 other local ministers, this simple movement became known as the silent revolution when, in 1963, it opened up job opportunities for minorities at the Tasty Baking Company in North Philadelphia. Many other companies experienced the same economic lesson and also opened opportunities to the community. These opportunities for jobs created a need for training in positions that historically were not available for minorities. “OIC was created because we knew that integration without preparation is frustration and that something had to be done about education for the masses so that a man could get a job with good pay to lift himself out of poverty, frustration, self-pity and anger,” stated Reverend Sullivan. In 1964, on a very cold January day, the first OIC was opened in an old, renovated jailhouse. Today, OIC’s throughout the world continue training people for jobs and self-sufficiency with the motto of “Helping People Help Themselves.” In the words of Reverend Sullivan, “Training is important for there is one thing no man can take from you – a skill by which you can earn a living.”

Video: OIC 50 Years Story

About Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center (POIC):

In the mid 1960’s, a group of ministers calling themselves the Portland Albina Ministerial Alliance (PAMA), first became aware of the possibility of establishing an employment training program based on a philosophy for self-help, after reading an article entitled “We Help Ourselves” in a 1965 Reader’s Digest. The article focused on a self-help outreach, training, and job placement program developed by Reverend Leon H. Sullivan in Philadelphia, PA. After reading the article, several ministers visited the OIC in Philadelphia, and decided that Portland needed a similar program to provide pre-vocational and vocational training, counseling job development and placement services to its economically disadvantaged, unemployed and under-employed citizens.

The first Portland OIC Board of Directors was formed in March of 1967 and operations began in October of 1968.