OAI, Inc. opens “A Place for Change”

OAI, Inc. is a non-profit workforce development agency founded in 1976. OAI envisions a community where access to education, job training and employment is available to all. OAI believes that extending the opportunity to earn a living wage is a vital step towards creating and sustaining strong communities. OAI's mission is to:

 Advocate and promote equal access to education, training, and career opportunities primarily for culturally diverse populations and communities in poverty.

 Build long-term independence and sustainability of individuals, organizations, and communities.

 Design and implement training models in education, workforce/community development, and affordable housing that are exemplary, cost-effective and replicable.

 Develop creative partnerships with underserved communities, mission-based/community based organizations, and public and private businesses.

On August 20, 2004, OAI expanded its workforce support by opening "A Place for Change," a downtown Chicago facility that provides the organization's economically disadvantaged clients with complimentary business clothing. Jenner & Block Executive Assistant Madalyn Duerr was honored by OAI for her remarkable leadership and organizational efforts that made "A Place for Change" a reality. Along with her husband, Peter, Ms. Duerr worked to transform office space into a comfortable environment where OAI clients could shop, try on and select business attire to launch their new careers. Ms. Duerr also brought OAI to the attention of Jenner & Block.

"When Jenner & Block's Summer Associates heard about OAI's need for business clothing, they rallied to the cause," said Partner Charlotte L. Wager, the Firm's Director of Professional Development. "We're hoping to make this an annual feature of our Summer Associate Program." Summer Intern Maureen Riordan (DePaul University College of Law '06) and Summer Associates Dawn Duffy (The University of Chicago Law School '05) and Rina Scates (Brigham Young University-J. Reuben Clark Law School '05) also greatly contributed to the effort. Jenner & Block was honored for the Firm's involvement in the clothing drive.

"A Place for Change" is the latest accomplishment for OAI, Inc., a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) entity. Other recent milestones for the organization include:

• The five-year "Bright Future" Welfare-to-Work program, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor from 1998 to 2003, achieved national acclaim, especially in the healthcare industry.

• The environmental remediation training, now in its 9th year of funding by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), was commended by the South Suburban Mayors' Association and recognized by the City Council of Kansas City, Missouri.

• In late 2002, the City of Chicago selected OAI as one of three recruiting agencies for the new, Ford-connected Chicago manufacturing Campus.

• In 2003, OAI received one of Chicago's first and largest TIFWorks grants.

For more information about OAI, Inc., visit the organization's Web site at http://www.oaiinc.org/ or to learn more about "A Place for Change," contact Madalyn Duerr at 312/923-8378.

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October 2004Volume 10Number 1PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)