The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news.
Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Opportunities Industrialization Center's (OIC) 40th birthday celebration. This community based organization has grown from very humble beginnings to become a major support agency providing services to people in need throughout Washington State. Throughout the evening tributes were paid to Henry Beauchamp, the founder of OIC and the man most instrumentally behind their success. Mr. Beauchamp received a lifetime achievement award at the celebration, a very appropriate honor given his longstanding service to the organization. Many other people were also recognized at the event and it was very obvious that Henry built a strong mission driven team focused on giving people a "hand up not a hand out".
Today OIC is a multimillion dollar enterprise with offices throughout the state. The organization provides education and training to kids, young adults and Farmworkers. OIC also develops affordable housing and provides weatherization services for low income households. They also operate food banks, run a comprehensive nursing/rehabilitation home, and provide consumer education services. Over time OIC has become one of our Valley's one-stop shops for social services. With a dedicated staff, the organization helps thousands of people each year.
Several of OIC's clients spoke at the event and their messages all touched on empowerment. Facing personal and family challenges these folks changed their lives around with the support and guidance from OIC.
Our organization has worked with the Opportunities Industrialization Center on several projects over the years. When new or expanding employers have wanted to fill new positions we have worked with OIC on job placement and training projects. We have also worked with the organization to promote and advance workforce development initiatives that help our children prepare for jobs and careers.
We appreciate OIC's impact in the Yakima Valley and their partnership. OIC is a New Vision investor and both Henry Beauchamp and current director Steve Mitchell have served on our Board of Directors. Through these relationships we have developed tremendous respect for our local Industrialization Center. OIC has made a big difference in our community and they will continue to be part of our local safety net that supports people facing challenges or disadvantages. During these tough economic times we are especially grateful that OIC provides essential services in our Valley. Our congratulations go to Henry, Steve and the OIC team together you have indeed made a difference.