To be leaders in improving the lives of disadvantaged adults by creating educational and employment opportunities.
Opening opportunities for individuals to prepare for sustainable employment and financial independence through education, training and support services.
In 1964, Reverend Leon H. Sullivan and hundreds of African-American ministers in Philadelphia identified a need to prepare minority workers for jobs that were finally accessible to them. Many workers were untrained and under – educated. Job retention and career advancement became the new obstacles to success. Through commitment, determination and community support, an old, abandoned jailhouse was renovated and the Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) was founded. Local businesses and the Chamber of Commerce responded to Reverend Sullivan’s appeal for equipment, vocational guidance and training. Through that cooperation, OIC began to provide potential workers with skills training on equipment actually used in industry, benefitting both business and worker.
In 1979, Chester County OIC was founded on the same principles and objectives as the Philadelphia organization. In 1979, CCOIC was essentially a job placement agency without any educational component. Since education is the key to success, pre-vocational training and GED diploma classes, as well as career workshops were added. In 1983, the first vocational training program began. Fourteen clerical students graduated from that first class and went on to employment.
By 2004, OIC had expanded vocational programming with the Nurse Aide Training program, in response to workplace demand. Other training and certification programs followed. Today, Chester County OIC provides educational and short term training opportunities to all who seek self-improvement and better employment prospects. During the 2018-19 program year, CCOIC and its partners served over 700 adults through numerous classes, training sessions, workshops and one-on-one direct consultations. As we continue to grow, both new and established collaborations have enabled us to serve more clients.
The Community GED Program continues to thrive at the PA CareerLink Chester County located in the Oaklands Corporate Center in Exton with classes Monday through Thursdays. The GED Testing Center, located in the PA CareerLink-‐Chester County in Oaklands Corporate Center in Suite 500 at 479 Thomas Jones Way in Exton continues to provide a convenient, well-appointed location for testing. In program year 2016-2017, the test center expanded its hours to allow test taker to complete the 4 components of the GED test in one day. The center’s hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 9AM until 4:30PM. This year we added the Hi-Set test as an alternate high school equivalency test at the Test Center.
In 2018, we bought our first building in Coatesville, PA. Our big move from West Chester occurred on July 24, 2018. The building purchase occurred right before Christmas. What a gift! With the help of the County of Chester & HUD we now own our building outright. In addition, we have expanded our programming with a young adult workforce re-entry program, and our new Coatesville classes have expanded adult literacy services to Kennett Square, Avon Grove and West Grove.
CC-OIC is an independent agency affiliated with OICA – Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America. OICA was founded in 1964 in Philadelphia by the Reverend Dr. Leon Sullivan. Dr. Sullivan, a well-respected and beloved minister, fought for social justice all of his life. Self-reliance was Dr. Sullivan’s adage, and it remains the goal of OIC affiliates internationally.
At Chester County OIC, we continue his battle against injustice and discrimination through education and life skills training. Specifically developed programs serve clients and students classified as low-income or disadvantaged. The ESL students represent 19 different native languages. Chester County OIC continues to grow and adapt to the needs of the county, students and clients.
Chester County Opportunities Industrialization Center is a non-profit community- based organization that has been meeting the needs of the economically disadvantaged individuals throughout the community.
Stay up to date on Chester County OIC programs, services and events.