OIC Philadelphia: Transform Your Future logo
OIC Philadelphia: Transform Your Future
Apply Now
October 11, 2023

September Newsletter

A Heartfelt Thank You to Our OIC Alumni!

To the remarkable 600 individuals who registered for the inaugural OIC Alumni Block Party: Your presence truly made the evening unforgettable! Alumni spanning an impressive 59 years of OIC history came together in a spirit of unity and pride, reflecting on our storied past while looking ahead with hope and purpose. The evening was further graced by the presence of distinguished guests: Philadelphia's trailblazing first female black mayoral candidate, Cherelle Parker; the ever-committed Congressman Dwight Evans; and the visionary Senator Sharif Street. As we celebrate OIC's legacy and dream of its future, your unwavering support remains our foundation. Here's to the past, present, and future of OIC!

Culinary Team Wow's Block Party Attendees

Earlier this month, OIC Philadelphia's culinary team turned up the heat, presenting an unforgettable barbecue extravaganza for the inaugural alumni block party. With each perfectly grilled bite, attendees were transported to a world of rich flavors and culinary excellence. This was more than just a barbecue—it was a showcase of the team's dedication, skill, and the rich tapestry of Philly's food culture. Those fortunate enough to attend are still raving about the gastronomic delights, proving that when OIC's culinary artists are at the helm, magic truly happens on the plate!

Chef Franceska Jean Receives Inaugural Vennel Jones OIC Spirit Award

Chef Franceska Jean has been bestowed with the honor of receiving the inaugural Vennel Jones OIC Spirit Award, a touching tribute to the indomitable spirit of Vennel Jones. Vennel's life, along with the destinies of her children, were profoundly transformed by the empowerment and opportunities offered by OIC. This award serves as a testament to both Vennel's enduring legacy and Chef Franceska's unwavering commitment to culinary excellence and community empowerment. Today, we celebrate the inspirational journeys of these two incredible women, whose stories intertwine with the very essence of OIC's mission and impact.

Get SETT, Go Solar!

We're thrilled to highlight the triumphs of our Smart Energy Technical Training Program (SETT). Going beyond the conventional, our SETT students have embraced experiential activities, scaling new heights with challenges like rock climbing to ensure they're both technically adept and workforce-ready. The dedication and holistic approach have paid off splendidly – a whopping 80% of our students have already been placed in jobs! Dive into a program where cutting-edge solar training meets real-world preparedness. Here's to a brighter, greener future, powered by our SETT alumni!

Hospitality & Tourism Entrepreneurship
Panel Discussion

OIC Philadelphia's Hospitality & Tourism training institute recently hosted a riveting panel discussion, drawing from the wisdom and experiences of some of the city's most influential figures. Sharing insights from their individual journeys, they painted a compelling tapestry of resilience, innovation, and the spirit of Philadelphia. This discussion not only highlighted the depth of talent in our community but also laid out a roadmap for the next generation of aspirants in hospitality, tourism, and beyond. Panelists included:

  • Chef Darlene Jones: OIC Alumni and owner of Star Fusion Restaurant
  • David Brown: OIC Alumni and business owner
  • Erin Ellis: Community Relations Specialist from Philadelphia Federal Credit Union
  • Kenny Ashe: Activist & Philanthropist
  • Jason Coles: Renaissance Entrepreneur, Creator, & Web Designer 

Camille Pearsoll: Real Estate Coach & Developer

Banking on Brilliance: OIC Philadelphia's Newest Financial Mavericks! 

A hearty congratulations to OIC Philadelphia's latest graduates from the BankWork$ program! With the culmination of rigorous training and unwavering dedication, these graduates are now primed for flourishing careers in the financial sector.

Our immense appreciation extends to our esteemed speakers: Rhonda Bettis, the inspiring Retail Bank Director at Citizens Bank, OIC Alum & Citizens Bank Bank Teller, Roxann Smith. Their insights and shared experiences have undoubtedly left an indelible mark on our graduates. A big thank you to Joe Major, CEO of The Victory Bank, for his enlightening words and the vision he shared with our students.

To our graduates - the world of finance awaits your talent. Forge ahead and let your success be the story we proudly recount in years to come!

Sullivan Champion: From Trainee to Trailblazer

At OIC Philadelphia , there's nothing more rewarding than witnessing the triumphant journeys of our alumni in the workforce. Today, we take immense pride in celebrating one such shining star, Ouerdia Chertouh. From graduating our BankWork$ program to recently being elevated from the role of Bank Teller to Personal Banker at Citizens Bank, Ouerdia's ascent is a testament to her dedication, skill, and the transformative power of our training programs. Congratulations, Ouerdia! Your success story is an inspiration to us all and embodies the very essence of what OIC Philadelphia stands for – empowering individuals to achieve their fullest potential in the workforce. Here's to many more milestones in your thriving career!

Culinary Team Volunteer Day at
the People's Kitchen

In an inspiring display of community and culinary partnership, the talented culinary team of OIC Philadelphia has teamed up with The People's Kitchen. This remarkable collaborative consists of passionate chefs, eager students, and dedicated community members, all united by a singular mission: to address Philadelphia's longstanding challenges through the powerful medium of food.


Sheila Ireland named 2023 Labor Power 100 by City & State Pennsylvania

Congratulations to our fearless leader, Sheila Ireland, who was recently recognized as one of the top leaders for making labor work in the state of Pennsylvania. This is the 3rd consecutive year Ms. Ireland has received this notable recognition. 

"Last year, Sheila Ireland assumed leadership of Philadelphia OIC, an august workforce development nonprofit helping Philadelphians to find better opportunities. Ireland previously managed a $270 million budget as deputy secretary for workforce development at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Her experience also includes overseeing workforce development for the City of Philadelphia and serving as the founding director of the University City District’s West Philadelphia skills initiative."

Read the full article

Sheila Ireland Receives the Cultivator Award at the 2023 Nucleus Awards Presented by University City Science Center

Congratulations to Sheila Ireland, President and CEO of OIC Philadelphia, for her outstanding achievement in receiving the Cultivator Award at the Nucleus Awards presented by the University City Science Center & CSL. Sheila's dedication and leadership in fostering innovation and growth in the Philadelphia community are truly commendable. Her vision and commitment to driving positive change are an inspiration to us all. Well done, Sheila and to all the honorees!

6abc: OIC Celebrates Decades of Creating New Opportunities

2023 OIC Block Party on 6ABC in Race and Culture segment

As alumni gathered to reminisce and celebrate shared successes, 6abc was there to capture the vibrant spirit of the event. Adding a touch of culinary magic to the festivity was a special segment spotlighting OIC Alum Chef Darlene Jones and her restaurant, Star Fusion in West Philadelphia.

6abc's feature showcased Chef Darlene's inspiring journey from being an OIC graduate to owning one of the city's most beloved dining spots. Viewers were treated to behind-the-scenes glimpses of Star Fusion, witnessing the passion and skill that goes into every dish. This heartwarming coverage exemplifies Philadelphia OIC's mission of empowering its members and the broader ripple effect it has on the community. We extend our gratitude to 6abc for highlighting the stories that matter and continue to inspire many more.

Watch full story

Philadelphia Tribune: OIC Philadelphia celebrates nearly 60 years of service with an alumni block party 

"The Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) celebrated nearly 60 years of changing lives through its workforce development and education programs with a big alumni block party on Friday, September 1, at their office in North Philadelphia. Up and down Thompson Street, invited alumni, business leaders and guests enjoyed an afternoon of food, live music and networking. Some high profile guests included Democratic mayoral candidate Cherelle Parker, Philadelphia OIC president and CEO Shelia Ireland, and Gray Hall of 6ABC. The event was free for OIC alumni and their families and friends.

Read the full article

Welcome to the OIC Team!

Stephanie Peoples
Program Manager for Re-entry Services
Wasul Robinson
Program Manager for Re-entry Services
Posted by Nadaysha Screven

More Like This

Related Stories