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Hope Thrives in New Center in Sharon, PA

HopeCAT students in front of the mural they painted on the side of the Reyers Store in Sharon, PA. Photo courtesy of Tom Roberts.

The Hope Center for Arts and Technology (HopeCAT), a replication of the internationally regarded Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC) education model, held its ribbon cutting ceremony in Sharon, PA on December 7, 2017.

After breaking ground in March 2016, approximately 30,000 of the 45,000 square feet of what was once a dilapidated and abandoned elementary school was renovated into beautiful classrooms, galleries, and workspaces to serve the community throughout the region, with future renovation phases planned.

“Thanks to creative collaborations with Penn State Shenango and regional organizations, we’ve been able to operate without a facility for the last two years,” said Tom Roberts, HopeCAT’s executive director. “This amazing facility captures the spirit of the other centers for arts and technology throughout the world and will allow ripples of hope to reach even farther than we can imagine.”

The goal of the center—like the MBC model—is to place its adult career training students in life-changing careers and public high school youth arts program graduates in postsecondary education. HopeCAT is currently designing courses in partnership with the regional medical industry to help adults obtain long-term employment and will offer ceramics and digital arts to youth.

“HopeCAT will be joining an affiliated network of centers reaching from Cleveland, OH to Buffalo, NY, from Brockway, PA to our original site in Pittsburgh as well as sites in New England, Michigan, California, and Akko, Israel,” said Bill Strickland, MBC President and CEO. “This center is an important piece in the expansion of access to the Manchester Bidwell education model for this area.”