Local philanthropists, businesses, police and city officials - including Mayor Ted Wheeler - joined Joe McFerrin II, President and CEO of Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center (POIC) + Rosemary Anderson High School (RAHS), and Andrew Colas, President and COO of Colas Construction, to celebrate POIC’s 50 years as a leader in workforce training for communities of color in Portland on April 5, 2018.
The event, a day after the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., acknowledged the important work of the civil rights leader.
Part of the worldwide OIC network, POIC was established in Portland in 1968 to provide employment training and industrial development programs for people of color, demonstrating the strength of African Americans resisting persistent racism and discrimination through their own community-based programs and organizations.
The dual anniversaries were acknowledged during POIC + RAHS's 10th annual Work Connections Breakfast. The annual event supports POIC's Work Opportunities Training program, which offers comprehensive educational, workforce development and family services to meet the needs of underserved youth living in Multnomah County.
"Our doors are open to everyone. We work with high-risk youth and their families to provide education, job training, and job placement for low-income citizens in our community," said Joe McFerrin II.
Keynote speaker, Andrew Colas, recently helped POIC launch a new pre-apprenticeship program for trainees to develop construction skills and prepare for a career in the trades, and the City of Portland’s Bureau of Parks and Recreation was awarded the C.A.R.E. Advocate Award for their continuing work with POIC + RAHS.