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Category: News

Chester County OIC Hosts Community Dinner

Last Wednesday, we hosted a Community Dinner–pasta style! Several young people attended and received iPhone 5s with minute cards and chargers!

At this dinner we were able to discuss community development, community involvement, millennial ideas, the history of Chester County OIC and OIC of America at large.

We appreciate all the young adults that came out to socialize and prioritize the growth of Chester County and their community. More photos from the event can be viewed on our Facebook page. A special thank you to Lamb Beverage, Coatesville Community member Ms. Shelika Spain and Wegman’s for contributions to our community dinner!

Congratulations 2019 GED Graduates!

Congratulations to the class of 2019 GED graduates this past June! Thank you to the GED instructors, the PA Careerlink (Exton) and other countywide organizations that helped to make this day possible. Graduates we welcome you to join our Workforce Reintegration Program that can place you in career training and other employment opportunities.

Aya Health Café Event Photos

Chester County OIC was proud to partner with the Black Women of Chester County in Action in order to present Aya Health Café on June 29th. The event was designed to promote the importance of health and wellness as it pertains to black women and their physical wellbeing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from 2011-2013, black women have high amounts of heart disease (7.6% compared to 5.8% of white women). In addition, rates of diabetes between white and black women are almost doubled–5.4 per 100 vs. 9.9 per 100 according to CDC data collected from 1980 to 2014. These along with other studies have spurred BWCCA into activism to empower women of color to take their health into their own hands.

One of the ways this goal was emphasized was through walking. Studies conducted by numerous health organizations have shown that walking just 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of chronic illness–many of which effect black women disproportionally. In order to raise awareness to the benefits of walking, one of the main events of the day was a fun mile walk in the community. A drum circle, complimentary breakfast and lunch, and vendor area was also provided for attendees.

Pictures from the Aya Health Café are now up on Facebook. Click here to see photos from our wonderful event. Special thanks to Fonz Newsuan for his photography and camerawork during this event.

Save the Date! The CCOIC Awards Gala Will Be Returning For Its 40th Year

Remember to mark your calendars and buy tickets early because the formal Chester County OIC Awards Gala is returning for its 40th year with a whimsical Wizard of Oz inspired theme–“There’s No Place Like Home!” Join us on November 15th, 2019 at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern, PA for a night of dinner and celebration as we commemorate those who have helped to make our mission a success. For more information, sponsorship opportunities, and ticket sales please call us at 610-692-2344.

I Am Chester County OIC: Kokilathas’ Story

Thas smiling for a photo.

Kokilathas (Thas) is from Sri Lanka and grew up in the city of Jaffna. He finished 13 years of formal training and received his High School Diploma. Thas immigrated to the United States on February 23rd, 2009. He came to America seeking political asylum because the Sinhalese Army, a controlling group in Sri Lanka, was killing the Tamil people. The obstacles he faced immigrating into the United States were finding legal assistance and filling the requirement of having a United States address.

Thas wanted to speak better English. meet other immigrants residing in the United States and learn more about the culture and traditions of the country. His friends attended the English as a Second Language program at Chester County OIC and recommended that Thas attend too. He began the program in 2010 when he tested low beginning ESL He then moved up to High intermediate ESL and in August of 2013 post-tested at Advanced ESL.

Chester County OIC salutes the achievements of Khalil Knight, the first participant in our new SOAR Reintegration Program!

Khalil came to Chester County OIC through Better Tomorrows which serves the Regency Park community.  He had just returned home last fall, and was in search of reliable job with transportation support to help pay his fines.  He really just wanted a chance to grow and succeed. With the help of our dedicated team, Khalil attended all of his appointments and met all of the program requirements, and is now enrolled in the FRESHStart Kitchen at the Chester County Food Bank!  This 14-week culinary training program results in sustainable employment in the food service industry. FRESH is an acronym for Focusing Resources on Employment, Self-Sufficiency and Health.

Chester County OIC is dedicated to “Helping People Help Themselves.”  Through SOAR, which stands for Skills, Opportunities, Achievement, and Responsibility, we support young adults who have been involved in the criminal justice system to get training and find employment that leads to self-sufficiency.  Our holistic, trauma informed care approach helps our program participants overcome barriers to set and achieve their goals.

Khalil Knight, the first participant in our new SOAR Reintegration Program working at Chester County Food Bank FRESHstart program.

Khalil has continuously expressed his excitement about being involved with Chester County OIC and FRESHStart Kitchen, stating “Yes, I finally have things to look forward to!”  Over just a few months of working with the SOAR team, he has shown tremendous motivation and dedication to his own personal and professional development.  Khalil is on the track to lifelong success!

Joyce Chester, President & CEO, said, “We look forward to the great things Khalil will do, and to fostering more networks and support systems so that many, many more people in Coatesville and Chester County at-large can come to us to improve their lives.”

For more information about the FRESHStart Kitchen at the Chester County Food Bank, please visit

For more information about Chester County OIC and the SOAR program.

Woman of the Year

Joyce Chester, President & CEO, Chester County OIC

We are proud to say that this year our very own Joyce Chester, President and CEO of Chester County OIC, has been chosen as Woman of the Year. The recipient of Woman of the Year exemplifies outstanding contributions in the community through exemplary service. Congratulations, Joyce! We couldn’t think of a more worthy leader to receive this honor.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority will be hosting their Finer Womanhood: High Tea on Saturday, March 16, 2019. This year’s High Tea will be held on the campus of West Chester University at Sykes Student Union 110 W. Rosedale Avenue West Chester, PA 19382 at 12pm. Finer Womanhood is an annual national observance of the Sorority that is celebrated from the last full week in February to the end of March. Every year since 1923 members of Zeta Phi Beta all over the world have annually devoted a special time to identifying and shining a light on women, youth and organizations who express the ideals of the sorority and have used their lives to leave an indelible impression on society 

“Let’s Talk Coatesville”

Free event THIS Thursday, February 7th, at 5pm Chester County OIC is hosting the final “Let’s Talk Coatesville” event, tackling the topics of education and jobs. Dinner and childcare are both provided! No reason to miss this event!

CALL 610.380.9080, x 100 OR

The Brandywine Health Foundation wants to hear your voice.

During our final “Let’s Talk Coatesville” event, we’ll tackle the health challenges created by imbalances in education, income and economic opportunity in the greater Coatesville community. We’ll tap into community wisdom to identify the most challenging financial roadblocks to upward mobility and discuss viable solutions.

Discussion topics:

  • Job security
  • The importance of a living wage
  • Education opportunities
  • Financial literacy and management
  • Language barriers to income


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. 


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