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Category Archive: Bidwell Training Center

  1. MBC COVID-19 Closure Update

    Manchester Bidwell Corporation and its affiliates and programs have always acted with the health and safety of our students, staff, and patrons as our primary priority, and in accordance with all government orders during this crisis. Our past anticipated re-open dates were based on the latest government orders. Based on the indefinite nature of Governor Tom Wolf’s latest order, we do not want to set an arbitrary re-open date. With the new guidance from the federal government and under the best-case scenario we are hoping to resume full operations Monday, May 4, 2020. However, this can certainly change.

    For over 50 years, Manchester Bidwell Corporation’s success has come from adapting to the needs of the community and the market, and we are currently operating under that mindset. Please stay tuned to all our affiliates’ communications as they announce new, creative ways to provide the programming the community desperately needs.

    Our foundational principles are steering us now more than ever. We must fill our new confined environments with beauty, light, and hope to shape positive behavior. We are relying on our creativity more than ever to fuel enterprise. Finally, in a time filled with despair, we must always remember people are assets not liabilities.

    We appreciate your patience and help during this time.

  2. Manchester Bidwell Corporation Closure Extended to April 6

    In accordance with Governor Tom Wolf’s order, Manchester Bidwell Corporation and its affiliates and programs will extend its closure with hopes to reopen April 6.

    We continue to ask all to please stay tuned to our websites, social media outlets, and emails as the situation with COVID-19 remains fluid.

    We sincerely thank you for your patience during this time.

  3. Manchester Bidwell Corporation Temporary Closure

    Due to an abundance of caution and in concert with new state-wide guidance around COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC) and its affiliates and programs will be closed effective immediately. We will reopen March 23. Performances held at MBC will be postponed through March 31.

    While there has been no report of COVID-19 infection in Allegheny County at the moment, we are prudently going to deep clean and sanitize all common areas and offices to help slow the spread of the virus. While closed, no one is allowed in any of our facilities without the approval of MBC President & CEO Kevin Jenkins.

    During our closure, staff will still be compensated.

    For our students and patrons, you will receive specific communication from our affiliates and programs, but we want to provide you with some basic information. Bidwell Training Center students, all programs will be extended by the amount of time missed due to the closure. For MCG Youth & Arts students, our upcoming spring enrollment and trimester will be postponed, and a new date will be announced. For our MCG Jazz patrons, customers with tickets to performances in March will be contacted with information on exchanges, donations, and rescheduled dates.

    We will continue to stay in contact with appropriate officials and entities regarding any new guidance in slowing the spread of the virus. We ask that all staff, students, and stakeholders, stay tuned to our websites, social media channels, and emails for any changes to the current closure.

    We sincerely thank you for your patience, cooperation, and understanding during this time.

  4. Bidwell Training Center to host student cook-off with Fifth Season as partner

    Bidwell Training Center’s Culinary Arts and Horticulture Technology students, staff and faculty at Fifth Season.

    Bidwell Training Center‘s (BTC) Culinary Arts and Horticulture Technology seniors will battle against one another in a cook-off. The event will mimic the famous competition show Chopped on Food Network. Each student must prepare a spectacular salad. The catch? They have to use Fifth Season, powered by RoBotany‘s flagship Bridge City Blend, create their own salad dressing and prepare seven servings of the dish in 30 minutes. Students must impress the judges in order to avoid getting “chopped,” meaning eliminated from the competition, in order to advance to the final cook-off round. Other requirements include:

    • a maximum of 4 “mix-in” ingredients can be used
    • total ingredient cost must be no more than 75 cents per ounce
    • participants must create a name for their salad and creative description

    In the final cook-off round, students will be given a secret set of ingredients for an impromptu creation. The winner of the competition will receive a dinner for two at Superior Motors and a shadowing session with General Manager of Fifth Season Tejas Rane and Executive Chef of Superior Motors Brian Little.

  5. Pa. secretary of education makes first visit to Manchester Bidwell Corporation

    In his first visit to Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC), Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera experienced first-hand how our organization combines many seemingly disparate elements – adult career training, youth arts education, jazz presentation and orchid and floral sales – into a dynamic whole with a proven record of positively changing lives.

    Rivera took a tour of MBC and met with President and CEO Kevin Jenkins and several executive directors including: Vice President of External and Government Relations for MBC Joanna Papada, Executive Director of Bidwell Training Center Dr. Kimberly Rassau, Executive Director of MCG Youth & Arts Justin Mazzei, Director of Greenhouse Operations Mark Wallace and Government Relations Consultant Mary Ann Eisenreich.

    MBC thoroughly enjoyed Rivera’s company. We are thankful of his support of our mission and educational model.

    Left to right: Government Relations Consultant Mary Ann Eisenreich, MBC President and CEO Kevin Jenkins, Vice President of External and Government Relations for MBC Joanna Papada, Executive Director of Bidwell Training Center Dr. Kimberly Rassau, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera and Executive Director of MCG Youth & Arts Justin Mazzei.

    Left to Right: Director of Greenhouse Operations Mark Wallace and Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera



  6. Join us for GiveBigPittsburgh 2019!

    It is officially the season of giving and there is no better way to end the year than by giving back to your community! Get ready to give! Starting at 12 a.m. on December 3rd, visit GiveBigPittsburgh’s website and make a donation to Bidwell Training Center, MCG Jazz and/or MCG Youth & Arts. Your donation serves as an investment in Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC) and the people whose lives we transform every day. Whether its $5 or $50, no gift is too small to make a BIG impact on your community.

    Donate to Bidwell Training Center:

    Donate to MCG Jazz:

    Donate to MCG Youth & Arts:

    About GiveBigPittsburgh

    GiveBigPittsburgh raises money for local nonprofits through a single online donation platform, providing a simple way to connect donors to the charitable causes they care about most. This 24-hour online fundraising effort, hosted by Pittsburgh Magazine and local sponsors, offers nonprofits the chance to raise funds to support their critical missions. Learn more.

    Thank you from all of us here at MBC!

  7. Record number enroll at Bidwell Training Center

    For the entire 2018–2019 fiscal year Bidwell Training Center (BTC) enrolled 120 students, and BTC is projecting a significant increase in enrollment as this fall alone 89 students have enrolled in classes.

    This fall BTC enrolled its largest horticulture technology class in the history of the program. Its medical programs this fall exceeded total medical enrollment from last fiscal year and new cohorts are starting this upcoming spring.

    Strategic Changes Made to BTC’s Admissions

    When Executive Director Kimberly Rassau Ed.D. started at BTC this year, her priority
    was increasing the number of students served. Significant changes were made to the admissions strategy causing these excellent results. BTC has done a complete re-brand of their marketing materials and focused more on digital marketing in order to meet potential students where they are spending a lot of their time.

    While the admissions process is the same, BTC has been more flexible to try and accommodate future students. For instance, while informational sessions are still held Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:45 a.m., potential students can now make an appointment to do an informational session if they aren’t able to make it to the one of those two days. Furthermore, a new addition to the admissions team has increased recruitment efforts.

    While the numbers prove the efforts are effective, BTC still has more changes planned.
    You’ll soon catch a new BTC commercial on television featuring BTC’s best ambassadors: alums. In addition, expect to see a complete redesign of the BTC website soon that will be clearer, modern, and easier to navigate.

    2019 BTC Placement Rates

    As reported in BTC’s 2019 Annual Report to the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, BTC’s overall job placement rate is 82%. BTC placement officers keep in touch with graduates to check on their employment and provide career advisement. Below are the individual programs’ placement rates:

    • Laboratory Technician – 93%
    • Culinary Arts – 73%
    • Horticulture Technology – 77%
    • Medical Assistant – 100%
    • Medical Claims Processor – 73%
    • Medical Coder – 71%
    • Pharmacy Technician – 89%

    Apply to BTC

    Offering no-cost career training to Pennsylvania residents with a high school diploma
    or equivalent is not a secret that should be kept from anyone who can take advantage
    of this innovative educational model. If you or someone you know wants to learn
    more about enrolling at BTC call 1-800-516-1800.

  8. In memoriam: Gary Caldwell, Director of Student Services

    Gary Caldwell, Director of Student Services. Photo by Germaine Watkins.

    Bidwell Training Center (BTC) lost a family member this fall—Gary Caldwell, 43, Director of Student Services. Caldwell started changing lives at BTC in 2003 when he started as a Student Advisor and eventually rose to Associate Director of Student Services and then to Director of Student Services.

    It is often noted that one of the things that sets BTC apart from other institutions is the quality of support services we offer to our students who all come from different backgrounds and require assistance in different areas. Caldwell set the tone and standard for those important services.

    Known to be the one all could go to when they needed someone to talk to during difficult times, Caldwell’s loss hit significantly hard on BTC and the community.

    Caldwell spent time helping others outside of his time at BTC as he was also associate
    producer of the documentary “From Liberty to Captivity,” which shines a light on
    the issue of sex trafficking.

    His heart and his legacy will live on at BTC and in the region.

  9. Internal promotions prove the quality of Bidwell Training Center’s staff

    Professional development is something every person should work on throughout their entire professional career. Bidwell Training Center (BTC) emphasizes this with students and sets the example with the development they do with their own employees. BTC has had three internal promotions this year that demonstrate the excellent quality of its staff.

    Tiaona Cade, Career Services Coordinator. Photo by Germaine Watkins.

    Tiaona Cade started her time at BTC in 2018 as a placement officer. In her new role, Cade ensures career preparation throughout the student life cycle for all programs and makes career readiness a priority.









    Regina Hergenroeder, Student Advisor. Photo by Germaine Watkins.

    Regina Hergenroeder started as the Administrative
    Assistant for the culinary arts program six years ago and was recently promoted to student advisor. Hergenroeder now provides supportive services to an assigned number of student cohorts with the goal of enhancing student engagement, facilitating academic success, overcoming personal barriers, and helping students achieve their educational and career aspirations.






    Audra Pavloski, Student Services Coordinator. Photo by Germaine Watkins.

    A student advisor when she started at BTC in 2017, Audra Pavloski now serves as Student Services Coordinator. Pavloski is now a liaison between BTC and outside agencies, which include the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Veterans Affairs, Pennsylvania Women Work, and others.








    “Tiaona, Regina, and Audra are committed to our mission and showed interest in taking on a more prominent role in the scope of operations,” said Ken Huselton, Senior Director of Operations.

  10. A Dream Becomes Reality: Annamaria’s Story

    Annamaria Esplen, BTC culinary arts alum and owner of Anna’s Sunrise Café and Catering at UPMC’s South Hills.

    Since she was a young girl, Bidwell Training Center (BTC) alumna Annamaria Esplen has always had a love for cooking and a passion for planning parties. Annamaria recalls “Over the years, everyone told me that I should be a caterer or open a restaurant.”

    However, Annamaria’s path didn’t lead her to BTC right away.

    “After high school, I went to college for a year,” said Annamaria. “I came home and took a summer job with a small fastener distributor.”

    Annamaria worked 32 years for that company and learned all aspects of the business. She spent 15 years working in purchasing and then moved on to sales. She held a dual role as an in-house buyer and sales representative for one of the company’s largest customers.

    Thirty-two years later, the company was sold, so she decided to move on and make her earlier dream of owning a restaurant come true.

    “Twenty-five years ago, I brought my stepdaughter to tour BTC,” said Annamaria. “At that time, I fell in love with the culinary department, but unfortunately, the timing wasn’t right. At this point in my life, I knew I needed to attend BTC to help me become successful in my next adventure.”

    BTC’s culinary arts program enabled Annamaria with the push she needed to open her own catering business.

    “With what I learned and experienced through the classes, kitchen time, and volunteering for as many events as possible,” Annamaria explained, “it helped me grow; gave me the opportunity and confidence that I needed to move forward with my plans.”

    Annamaria in Bidwell Training Center’s culinary amphitheater during her time as a student.

    Since graduating from BTC in February 2019, Annamaria has opened Anna’s Sunrise Café and Catering at UPMC’s South Hills location. The Café is a small, open-air space that serves the medical and building staff and patients. As Annamaria’s business continues to grow, she is finalizing the details to open a second location.

    She has now taken the next steps to pay it forward, joining the American Culinary Federation Pittsburgh Chapter and serving on the BTC Culinary Arts advisory board.

    When asked what she would say to someone who is considering BTC, Annamaria exclaimed, “Do it! Open your mind, take the time to take on new challenges, and gain new opportunities. Everyone is there to help you succeed and improve your life.”