Before Alex Robinson enrolled in the BankWork$ program at Philadelphia OIC, he worked two jobs, one as a cook in a hospital and the other supervising food safety at a sporting arena. The two jobs did not bring in enough money for a comfortable life, especially as the supervisor position was seasonal. With a hunger to do more, and a longstanding curiosity about finance, Alex decided to pursue a career in banking.

Philadelphia OIC’s BankWork$ program provides free training in entry-level banking jobs to residents from all walks of life. Originally focused on training for teller positions, it now…


More employers today are seeking employees with Power Skills. Power skills? What are they? Do you need them? Do you have them? Can you get them?

Power skills are a differentiator. When considering two people for the same position, employers will select the person with power skills every time. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducts an annual survey of employers. Recently, it found that 80% of employers ranked power skills as more important than technical and computer skills. While there is no substitute for knowing the technical ins and outs of your job, technical competence is only…


Women are an integral part of the American tapestry of success. At every step of the American experiment, women have played a vital role. America literally would not be the land where dreams come true without the dedication, vision, creativity and commitment of women — especially Black women! Although, all too often unrecognized and overlooked, there is no disputing the impact of Black women.

No matter your political affiliation, the election of Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States marks a momentous occasion for women’s rights in America. Vice President Harris punched a hole in the proverbial glass…


Reverend Dr. Leon H. Sullivan

Black History Month is the time we celebrate the Black men and women whose accomplishments have moved America closer to its unfulfilled promise of equality for all Americans. Every February, we come together to celebrate historical giants: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Frederick Douglass. All of whom are worthy of our praise and should be included in every history book. Yet there are so many more amazing people to celebrate. African American heroes, who shook mountains to advance our fight for equality.

Reverend Dr. Leon Sullivan is one of those heroes. Dr. Sullivan was one of the…


Students from a Philadelpia OIC BankWork$ cohort partipating in commencement exercises.

As communities across the nation continue to deal with the economic impacts of COVID-19, leaders are looking at immediate ways to keep families afloat, from unemployment benefits to preventing evictions. That’s the right thing to do, for the individuals most affected by this crisis, and the economy.

But while we’re doing that, we also need to be looking ahead.

How are we preparing people to not only ease back into work, but hit the ground running with new skills that will land them better opportunities when the economy opens back up? …


Chef Chalie Schmidt, Philadelphia OIC Master Chef teaching culinary students at the Hospitality Training Institute

Philadelphia is the first World Heritage City in the United States. We did not reach this elite status by accident. As a community we spent the last 30 plus years and millions of dollars to turn Philadelphia into a world class city — a destination city!

Philadelphia is a highly desirable destination. In 2019, our City attracted 46 million people from across the United States and every corner of the globe. The number of visitors has been steadily increasing year over year.

Hospitality and tourism…


The impact of digital inequity on communities of color and low-income families has been a challenge for City leaders for decades. The race to solve the digital divide was thrown into hyper drive by COVID-19.

Underserved communities attempt to manage the digital divide with smart phones and public spaces. Students get internet access at school, at libraries, shopping malls and coffee shops. Not-for-profits, for example, Philadelphia OIC, also provide the community with internet access and computers through free computer labs. COVID-19 eliminated these options and laid bare the inadequacy of these piecemeal solutions.

The pandemic also showed that when we…


Tiesha Robinson worked in Guest Services in the hotel industry for 13 years before she enrolled in The Opportunities Inn at Philadelphia OIC.

The Opportunities Inn is an award-winning training program, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority. It is dedicated to training people for successful careers in the food services, lodging and tourism ndustries.

Tiesha enjoyed working in the customer facing roles, but her true passion has always been cooking. She had a flair for cooking delectable meals at home, however she wanted to master the methodology, science and artistry of professional cooking including using advanced equipment…


Students from Philadelphia OIC Workforce Academy during a panel discussion

Life after High School in a Post Covid-19 World

Graduation season is upon us. This is the season of celebration. This is the time to celebrate all that our students have achieved. It is a time to celebrate the next phase of their young lives. Yet high school students today face a future that is radically different than many of them imagined. Many of the traditional paths are not available to today’s graduates because of the global pandemic. Preparing graduates for a post COVID-19 world requires, resilience, adaptability, and flexibility.

In December 2019, the national unemployment rate was 3.5 percent…

Philadelphia OIC

Storied Workforce Development agency eradicating poverty in Philadelphia.

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