PHILADELPHIA, PA, October 14, 2022- I attended one of the most festive press conferences in recent years. The Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc. (OIC) held its Open House and Welcome of its new President/CEO, Sheila Ireland–it was indeed a high energy event. Industry executives, university officials, local media and community leaders packed the Philadelphia OIC’s Broad Street headquarters to celebrate the longstanding workforce success of the Philadelphia OIC and the installation of my friend/colleague Sheila Ireland.
The noble mission of the Philadelphia OIC is the elimination of poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy through education and job training. The Philadelphia OIC was founded in 1964 by the internationally renowned Rev. Dr. Leon H. Sullivan. Rev. Sullivan was a true visionary–he was driven by his gallant personal philosophy of “Helping People Help Themselves.” Rev. Sullivan was Senior Pastor of Zion Baptist Church and was affectionately known as the Lion of Zion! He was a civil rights activist, focused on the creation of job training opportunities for African Americans locally and abroad; and Rev. Sullivan was a longstanding Board Member of General Motors and a staunch anti-Apartheid activist. Rev. Sullivan died on April 24, 2001.