Montgomery County OIC staff members, from left, project director Aariann Vaughn, CEO Denise Ashe, pre-apprenticeship instructor Pat Augustus Gilbert and instructor Margaret Smith pose for a photo in Norristown Thursday, April 16, 2015.
Locally, Montgomery County OIC CEO Denise Ashe noted that the focus has shifted during her 18 years with the organization, from exclusively assisting adults to intervening with clients at a much younger age.
When I took the job, OIC
was only taking on adult students then, nobody really under the age of 30, Ashe
Now we kind of shifted because we want to catch the young people earlier so we dont have the illiteracy problems that we have now with older ones.
We have really changed our focus so that now we can see these kids before they need to come back and get their GED and help them with any issues they may have.
We can help them through the college process.
With a lot of the kids that we would see, we knew that all they needed was a push while theyre in school to help them out.
We know weve done our job, Ashe
added, if we can keep them in school, keep them educated and having that learning experience throughout the year.
said that the Pre-Apprenticeship
Program will also help prepare ex-offenders at Montgomery County Correctional Facility for employment, 90 days before they are due to be released.
We met with the warden and his
staff release so the ex-offenders can be prepared to get a job by the time they are out and will be that much closer to being employed, Ashe
There is a waiting list of kids to get into the camp program, said Ashe
, who credits staff members Aariann Vaughn, Linda Bean and Margaret Smith for OICs ongoing progress with its programs.
Funds raised by the banquet will help allow the training programs to remain free, Ashe
The OIC milestone means that the group has been continually advancing, never regressing since it was founded, Ashe