Louis King, who turned Summit Academy OIC from a flagging training school into a strong performer, will take over as chief executive of OIC of America.

King will work from Minneapolis, a spokeswoman said, and also continue as CEO of Summit Academy, a post he has held since 1995. Leroy West, chief operating officer of 18 years, will succeed King as president.

"Louis has provided exceptional leadership to Summit Academy OIC and the city of Minneapolis," James Talton, chair of OIC of America's board, said in a prepared statement. "As a seasoned OIC executive and an innovative visionary, we are inspired by the wealth of knowledge Louis brings to our national office."

King is considered a star of the 32-education-and-training school national network of OIC of America, established in the 1960s to provide free occupational training to low-income adults.

Summit has rebounded sharply from COVID-depressed 2020-21.

Revenue this fiscal year, which ends in June, will approach $15 million, thanks to increased private and government support, West said.

Summit's enrollment also has expanded to more than 950 students in online and in-person high school equivalency classes and training programs for careers in technology, health care and construction. It has two north Minneapolis locations.

More than 70% of its students are people of color. That statistic is important, King has said, if the Minnesota workforce is to grow.

Since the 2008-09 recession, minorities, including immigrants, have provided the incremental employment growth in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). For the previous decade, except for 2020, Black Minnesotans and other people of color in Twin Cities metro area saw employment ranks grow at double or more the rate of the overall job market in many categories.

And an overall labor shortage that started before the pandemic because of factors such as an aging workforce has only gotten worse.

"OIC provides an incredible opportunity to solve the labor crisis by engaging people of all ethnic backgrounds and geographic locations," said King in a statement. "Whether people come from a rural community or the inner city, it's going to take all of us to solve the [labor-shortage] crisis."

King was traveling Wednesday and unavailable for further comment.

A Florida native who was an an Army officer for a decade after college, King successfully pushed trade unions and construction contractors 20 years ago to diversify hiring and training.

King's objectives include building a thriving Black middle class in north Minneapolis and beyond. King, who makes about $300,000 and has served in a number of community business leadership posts, also is working with city Black churches on anti-crime strategies.

Summit is in the middle of a $12 million capital campaign.