The Los Angeles Opportunities Industrialization Center (LAOIC) is an affiliate of a network of such centers throughout the United States. Founded by the Rev. Leon Sullivan in 1964, the Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America Inc. reach out to underprivileged and undeserved members of society.

The mission of OIC is to be a leader in providing quality education, training, employment, healthcare and housing services to economically disadvantaged people of all races and backgrounds, enabling them to become self-sufficient and more fulfilled members of the community. The organization identified its main goal as working to empower as many residents as possible who want to receive vocational and financial education to become financially independent and contributing members of society.

The OIC has a number of programs that it utilizes to prepare youth for the job market. The general job-preparedness program is focused training for young adults to prepare them for career opportunities and computer/Internet-assisted job searching.

The program also includes interview- and application-completion assistance. There is also an office skills program that consists of training for young adults specifically interested in office automation positions with a focus on typing (keyboarding), sorting, English and math skills, clerical testing preparation and interpersonal skills training.

There are also a number of programs that are useful for adults, including the Automotive Oil Change Association Technicians Training Program designed to prepare participants to become lube center technicians; computer/office equipment repair program that teaches basic computer skills, including repair and software loading, functionality and connectivity; retail sales training, and call-center training.

One Los Angeles center program that has been highly successful has been the Computers for Families program, in which different corporations donate computers to underprivileged households.

“Our Computers for Families program is totally funded by a corporate and personal friend,” said Chris Floyd, executive director of the LAOIC. “If a family does not have a computer they are mired in looking for a job the old-fashioned way, which no longer works. Employment applications are online now. Job search is conducted online, not walking up and down the street or browsing the want ads. Homework is completed via the computer where research can be completed at the click of a button by the more affluent children. The computer is no longer a luxury; it is a necessary appliance in the home.”

In order to continue providing these services to the community, the Los Angeles Opportunities Industrialization Center will host the Breakfast of Champions, an awards ceremony to acknowledge the contributions and achievements of community leaders and center graduates. The event will take place on Dec. 2 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel at L.A. Live.

Members of the community are urged to support the programs by purchasing tickets to attend the breakfast ,which ranges from $100 for an individual ticket all the way to a Blue Ribbon Sponsorship at $10,000.

For community members who wish to donate, there are also possibilities to do so by visiting the organization’s website at www.laoic.org. All proceeds from the 2011 Breakfast of Champions go toward the sustainability of the Computers for Families program.