"Most of all we are making citizens," the 43-year-old Sullivan explained. "In a month's time, people can become newborn - a whole new individual can emerge.
"We've broken a hundred cycles of poverty even among those who have lived off government or private welfare for three generations. Families have been reunited after the husbands have been trained and found jobs.
"For 100 years the Negro has been told what he can't do. We're now telling him what he can do and teaching him how - and doing in 18 weeks what people said couldn't be done in a year."
LEON SULLIVAN, FOUNDER
The Omaha Opportunities Industrialization Center (OOIC) is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) community-based organization serving the Omaha Community since 1966. Services included vocational training, placement, and other youth and adult programs and services. Omaha OIC was developed in 1966 in reaction to high structural unemployment in the North Omaha area. The foundation was set for prepared fundraising, obtaining a suitable building, recruitment of volunteer instructors and trainees. Curriculum development, community education, industrial relations, and job development were launched.
Since the beginning in 1966, Omaha OIC has developed from an institution offering basic education into one of the leading skill-training centers in the city. In its early stages, Omaha OIC was a limited “feeder” of pre-vocational programs. Over the years, it developed training and programs in more than 13 vocational/technical and the federal government.
Omaha OIC is operated on the belief that “people are best helped by helping themselves.” The students in OIC programs learn much more than a skill. They learn that with a positive attitude, hard work, and good skills any individual can be a productive wage earner. Omaha OIC offers a “HAND UP, NOT A HAND OUT.”
The History and Identity of Omaha OIC
Omaha Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc. (Omaha OIC) is comprised of a network of comprehensive employment training programs across the nation. The first OIC was founded in Philadelphia in 1964. From its beginning in an abandoned jailhouse, OIC has grown into an organization with many OIC affiliates, both nationally and internationally. It serves the disadvantage and under skilled people, regardless of race.
Momentum was gained as organizations, businesses, churches, clubs, fraternities, and individual citizens provided their support in the nature of time, services, and money.
From 1966 to 2016, Omaha OIC trained and placed more than 20,000 people. These trainees have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to the local economy as a productive work force. For over 30 years, Omaha OIC has been one of the largest manpower-training sub-contractors for the Federally Funded Training Programs in the City of Omaha.
Plagued by a lack of funding, community support, and legal issues, Omaha OIC was dissolved in 2016. The absence of the organization has created a ripple of need throughout Omaha County.
Formation of the Interest Group for OIC of Omaha has been recognized as the following Board of Directors:
Founder of Crawford Community Development and LRC Management II
Owner of KLF Consulting, LLC and Co-Founder of CREATE Child Enrichment Center
Owner of Rent It Management Group,
Realtor and Property Manager with NP Dodge
“The thing that impressed me most about this group is that they reached out to us,” he said. “This group came to us with their memories of what was and what they felt was needed in the community. And I was personally moved that during a time of social unrest and systemic racism these people were able to stand up and say to a national organization such as ours, what can we do to continue to provide services because the services are needed,”
OIC of America President–CEO James Haynes