OIC New Havenhas been unlocking doors for employment opportunities for individuals in the Greater New Haven area for more than five decades. The organizations focus has always been in the area of human services, job training and job placement. Our commitment is to continue to provide education, training and employment services to the economically disadvantaged and unemployed people of all races and backgrounds so they may become more productive members of society. We encourage people to help themselves by taking advantage of the Youth and Adult opportunities/programs offered at OIC. The mission: committed to meeting the needs of its youth and adult population by providing the necessary tools to achieve self sufficiency. OIC places special emphasis on emerging and underserved populations, with the aim of making employment and training a global reality, by working with businesses, foundations, local and state governments, and other non-profit organization.
“Build Brother Build” is the title of Reverend Leon H. Sullivan’s book detailing the birth and development of Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC). It is also the philosophy by which he governed his life.
Born in Charleston, West Virginia, on October 16, 1922, Leon H. Sullivan became a Baptist minister at age 18. He graduated from West Virginia State College and the Columbia University Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He eventually moved to Philadelphia to become pastor of the Zion Baptist Church in 1950. From the pulpit, he could clearly see the needs of his community. Thousands were unemployed and yet thousands of jobs were vacant. Rev. Sullivan believed that jobs were the key to the economic development and true empowerment of African Americans rather than a dependence upon public assistance
Sullivan organized 400 other ministers and launched a “selective patronage” campaign whose main purpose was to boycott the Philadelphia-based companies that did not practice equal opportunity in employment. The boycott opened up more than 4,400 jobs to African Americans, yet many still needed to be trained and prepared for those jobs.
In order to insure that those individuals who got a job possessed the skills to keep the job, Rev. Sullivan founded the very first OIC training center in 1964 in an abandoned jailhouse in North Philadelphia. The dilapidated building was renovated using donations from people in the community and an anonymous grant. The OIC provided job and life skills training and matched its graduates with the employment needs of Philadelphia businesses. The undertaking was a huge success, and the programs were quickly replicated in cities across the United States providing comprehensive employment training and placement for disadvantaged, unemployed and unskilled Americans of all races. In 1969, OIC International was created to provide employment-training services on a global scale based on the OIC philosophy of “self-help”. In 1970, Rev. Sullivan established OIC of America, Inc. to serve as the national headquarters to OIC Affiliates and the technical assistance center for communities replicating the OIC model.