Minnesota’s own Louis J. King II will be moving to the national stage after having led one of OICA’s most successful affiliates—Summit Academy OIC in Minneapolis, MN—as president and CEO since 1995.
For the first time in its history, OIC of America, Inc. (OICA) named one of its own, King, to step up as president and CEO of its national office, effective January 4, 2022.
“We have worked diligently to identify a CEO that aligns with our mission and, more importantly, can execute on the Board’s vision,” said OIC of America’s Board Chair, James Talton. “Louis has provided exceptional leadership to Summit Academy OIC and the City of Minneapolis.”
OICA is committed to engaging with all people in underserved communities in order to solve the labor crisis. Continuing the work of the late founder Dr. Leon H. Sullivan, the organization aims to provide employment training in more marginalized groups of people than ever before.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, OICA is able to provide employment training services to both rural and urban communities due to its extensive network, which currently includes 31 national affiliates across 19 states—ranging from rural communities like Monroe, La., and Rocky Mount, N.C. to major metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia, Pa., Oklahoma City, Okla., San Antonio, Texas, and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis, Minn. and St. Paul, Minn.
“OICA provides an incredible opportunity to solve the labor crisis by engaging people of all ethnic backgrounds and geographic locations,” explained King. “Whether people come from a rural community or the inner city, it’s going to take all of us to solve the labor crisis.
“OICA is uniquely positioned to provide a scalable solution by providing direct access to communities that America can’t afford to overlook any longer. Our access to forgotten communities across the nation is second to none, and this is why it’s time for us to have a seat at any table where labor is being discussed at a large scale. We have what America needs.”
King, a graduate of Morehouse College and former officer of the U.S. Army, has built strong political relationships and programs that steered Summit Academy OIC to become a $15 million career technology and education institution. Under his leadership, they have built the largest construction certification program in Minnesota, along with IT training programs needed to help meet today’s labor needs. Northside STEM District and the North Star Innovation Center in Minneapolis were founded as a result.
When many training programs closed due to pandemic restrictions, Summit Academy OIC quickly expanded online programs. The pivot allowed Summit to experience much-needed growth when many of its students were seeking to replace entertainment and hospitality jobs lost to shutdowns.
King will continue serving as CEO of Summit Academy OIC following his transition to OICA’s national office. Leroy West, Summit’s chief operating officer of 18 years, will take over as Summit Academy OIC’s president. King is committed to seeing the completion of Summit’s $12 million comprehensive campaign that will benefit North Minneapolis. King will also continue to build strategies around working with the African American church to address crime in the city.
King’s appointment comes at a time when a confluence of events across the country calls for immediate workforce intervention. As Americans are quitting their jobs in record numbers and researchers are warning of dire workforce shortages, King aims to leverage the opportunity to finally eradicate poverty in America.
“The pandemic has driven us to technology and opened the doors of opportunity,” said King. “We are seeing the same shift witnessed 100 years ago when African Americans began the great migration as the economy moved from an agrarian market to one driven by manufacturing. Thankfully for forgotten communities and people, the situation in America has shifted to the point where no one can afford to waste talent.
“OICA is one of America’s best-kept secrets, and it’s time to come out of the shadows to share the success roadmap that has helped millions of families across the country. This is a fabulous opportunity for us to finally move everybody from poverty to the middle class. And, the internet will help us reach people and places so that companies can ‘offshore at home.’
“The best social service in the world is a job,” added King. “And the more people we can get working, the more we can shift the poverty line in our country and end the sense of social and economic isolation that divides us.”
For more information about King, Summit Academy OIC, and OIC of America, Inc., visit oicofamerica.org
Information and photo provided by OIC.