Mr. Newton Sanon obtained a BA in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Stout; he continued his studies at UW-Stout and obtained a Master’s Degree in Training in Human Resources Development.
After leaving the University, Mr. Sanon joined the Leo Lewis Youth camp of Minnesota Vikings as a youth counselor; he coached inner city youth on the fundamentals of football, life skills, and decision-making. In 1998, Mr. Sanon returned to his hometown of Miami, Florida, where he joined the Miami Dolphins as an operations assistant, supporting football operations and working with the NFL Youth Challenge program, which provides youth development programming to kids of all ages.
In 2000, Mr. Sanon moved on to Broward Community College (BCC), where he became first Project Director of a Federal initiative put out under the Clinton Administration Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs Project (also known as the G.E.A.R U.P. Project). This project provided tutoring, mentoring, homework assistance and interactive college tours for middle school youth residing in the housing developments. Under Mr. Sanon’s leadership, participating students saw significant academic improvement, with several students more than doubling their GPA (1.5 to 3.0+). Mr. Sanon’s emphasis on contextual based learning, as well as help from a few NFL friends, was key to this marked improvement. Mr. Sanon ran the Gear Up Project for two and a half years, leaving BCC in 2002 to join Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of Broward County originally as Project Director and was promoted to head the agency as the Executive Director within two years of service and now as President and CEO. Mr. Sanon has greatly expanded services to the Ft. Lauderdale area; OIC of Broward County’s annual budget has increased from $125,000 to now $5 million annually and growing. Under Mr. Sanon’s stewardship OIC solidified over $40 million to date in state, local, federal and private dollars since his arrival.
Under Mr. Sanon’s leadership, OIC of Broward County has now expanded its service offering perimeters to Miami Dade and progressively to Palm Beach County and has since changed its name to OIC of South Florida.
OIC of South Florida’s’ flagship programming remains in working with individuals who are re-entering society after being incarcerated, and is the leading provider of job training and placement for ex-offenders in the area. OIC’s Reentry Program has been highlighted on CNN and was instrumental in securing the “Honor of Hope” award from the White House office of Faith and Community based initiatives. This prestigious recognition is given to only one faith or community based organization per State. OIC also was able to solidify funding from the United Way for its Prisoner Reentry initiative; this funding was also increased as result of high performance. OIC has also highlighted at the annual United Way Celebration in the past as “Program of the Year”. Most notably, OIC of Broward County won the Reintegration of Ex Offenders or (REXO) Reentry solicitation award put out by the Department of Labor (DOL). According to DOL, this was the most competitive solicitation in the department’s history, with only 10 awards for over 600 hundred applications. OIC of Broward County not only received the only award in the State of Florida but the only award in the entire southeast region. OIC has been awarded over $9 million to date over the past ten years to serve ex-offenders successfully reintegrate into society and get jobs. As a result of Mr. Sanon’s leadership, along with a dedicated staff, well over 7,500 “former” recipients of public assistance, ex-offenders, underemployed and or underemployed residents of South Florida have gone to work in the past 14 1/2 years and are now taxpaying citizens of South Florida.
Under Mr. Sanon’s leadership OIC also currently provides programming to youth by way of its Teen Pregnancy Prevention initiative which is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This initiative aims to protect youth from risky behaviors that may derail their academic and vocational potential and in turn their becoming productive members of society. OIC also provides programming to youth providing academic tutoring and career awareness and planning made possible by the Florida Department of Education via the 21 Century learning initiative.
OIC continues to broaden its scope of program offerings to the community, in order to empower those served through training, education and jobs. Today also OIC of South Florida offers programming with an expanded partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, via its Youth Build initiative which that serves youth 18-24 who have had some “run in’s” with law enforcement and are in need of redirecting . OIC also offers substance abuse treatment services, having adopted the Outpatient Treatment Model via the Offender Reentry Program (ORP) funded by the Substance Abuse and mental Health Care Administration (SAMSHA). This Substance abuse initiative is paired with OIC’s notable workforce offerings as so many of urban communities’ challenges with substance stem from economic hardship.
Newton B. Sanon, President and CEO of OIC of South Florida, is committed to the advancement of the underserved via vocational training and education. Mr. Sanon states that “Despite the many challenges we face, we live in the best country in the world, with boundless opportunities. I simply look to be a convener of awareness, access and action with the aspiration that all may have at a minimum, the opportunity to realize the greatness within us all."
A proud member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Mr. Sanon has also been selected as one of The 40 Most Influential & Prominent Black Professionals of South Florida Under the Age of 40 by Success South Florida Magazine and was selected during the Bank Atlantic Non-profit Academy Awards as one of the Broward College Non-Profit Leaders of the Year and JM Family Enterprises annual African American Achievers Award for Community Service and recently U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Advocates, Entrepreneurs and Life Time Achievers, Leadership Florid Class of XXXIV and many more.