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Category Archive: Bidwell Training Center

  1. Inspired by Innovation: Sam’s Story

    Samuel Hawkins, Bidwell graduate and owner and operator of Whitetail Landscaping
    & Snow Removal.

    Walking through the doors of the Drew Mathieson Center for Horticulture and Agriculture Technology (DMC) Greenhouse was a turning point for Samuel Hawkins. Sam had first heard about the programs available at no cost at Bidwell Training Center (BTC) when his father enrolled in the brick masonry courses at BTC many years prior to Sam’s visit to the greenhouse. Sparked by his lifelong interest in the environment, Sam enrolled in BTC’s horticulture technology major and spent the next eight months immersed in the courses and the 160-hour externship required to obtain a diploma in the program. As Sam worked with BTC’s instructors, he began to plan to open his own landscaping business upon graduation.

    He currently owns and operates Whitetail Landscaping & Snow Removal. Sam credits the instructors and the environment at BTC for inspiring him to make his dream of opening his own business a reality.

    “Not only did Bidwell teach me 100 percent of the horticulture knowledge it takes to run my company on a day-to-day basis, but it also gave me the needed connections that it takes to operate alongside other companies who have been around for decades in the community.”

    As Sam’s business continues to grow in the Pittsburgh area, it is easy to see the role his education at BTC played in the success of his company.

    “Sam is extremely hard working, reliable, and wonderful to collaborate with on my lawn projects,” said Laura Heberton-Schlomchik, a client of Whitetail Landscaping. “Bidwell Training Center does fantastic work training students for the workforce.”

    Sam now has a much different role at BTC. His company regularly hosts externs from the same program from which he graduated. He also is an active member of the Horticulture Technology Board of Advisors and attends many of the events held at BTC throughout the year. And significantly, Sam and his company have become donors to BTC.

    “Without all the generous individuals who donated prior to my education, I would not have had the opportunity that I was given,”said Sam. “Bidwell—in many ways—was a new beginning for me. If I can help another individual with their next opportunity, I will choose to do so every time.”

    You can find out more about Sam Hawkins’ landscaping and snow removal business at pghwhitetaillandscaping.com.

    Our fiscal year ends on June 30th. Making your donation on or before June 30th will help Manchester Bidwell Corporation continue to provide a place of hope and opportunity to students like Sam. Donate here.

  2. American Culinary Federation Offers Invaluable Opportunities for BTC Students

    Certified master chef and MBC board member Byron J. Bardy, BTC culinary director Cynthia Tuite, BTC Executive Director/ Senior Vice President Valerie Njie, catering chef Brian Buskey, culinary department administrative assistant Gina Hergenroeder, and culinary arts instructor Richard Panzera with the Outstanding Supporter of the Year Award at the ACF Pittsburgh Chapter 2018 Awards Gala. Photo courtesy of Valerie Njie.

    Certified master chef and MBC board member Byron J. Bardy, BTC culinary director Cynthia Tuite, BTC Executive Director/Senior Vice President Valerie Njie, catering chef Brian Buskey, culinary department administrative assistant Gina Hergenroeder, and culinary arts instructor Richard Panzera with the Outstanding Supporter of the Year Award at the ACF Pittsburgh Chapter 2018 Awards Gala. Photo courtesy of Valerie Njie.

    Partnerships with professional organizations provide Bidwell Training Center (BTC) students learning and network opportunities outside of the classroom, and there was no better example than at the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Pittsburgh Chapter 2018 Awards Gala.

    The ACF promised a night filled with warm hospitality, fine dining, and tributes to those who promote the culinary profession. To say the least; they delivered.

    Held on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at the St. Clair Country Club, BTC students stated that the things they most remembered about the gala were the accepting and welcoming atmosphere, the presentation of the exquisite six-course meal, the staff, and the club. It was a night where you could sit across the table from chefs who are pioneers in the culinary industry, instructors, executive directors, and students.

    It is not uncommon for BTC staff and students and ACF members to be at the same event. The partnership between BTC and the ACF has provided an invaluable opportunity for students that is rarely experienced this early in the game. Throughout the years, BTC students have had the opportunity to attend monthly ACF meetings and Anything Goes Competitions—where they compete with other students around the Pittsburgh area. Their superior skills have resulted in first, second, or third place standings and awards. Monthly meetings offer a variety of demonstrations and educational lectures. Students are free to attend the meetings and competitions without being a member of the ACF and membership is offered at a discount.

    Student involvement in ACF helps them gain a new perspective and enhances their ability to create new and exciting concepts. Richard Grabowski, a recent BTC graduate, was honored at the gala and received the William Foust Educational Scholarship Award. Grabowski won a $1,200 prize that paid for him to attend the Chef Connect Conference in Charlotte, NC and a student culinarian membership to the ACF Pittsburgh Chapter for one year. Valerie Njie, BTC executive director/senior vice president, was present to accept the ACF Outstanding Supporter of the Year Award on behalf of BTC.

    Whether attending an awards gala, an Anything Goes Competition, or monthly meeting, students can walk out learning more than they walked in with. It is clear to see that the future of the culinary industry is in the students’ hands. The generosity and expertise that the chefs at BTC and the ACF give to the students will help guide the future of culinary cuisine and hospitality.

  3. Half a Century of History at the Home & Garden Show

    “From the Ground Up” installation at the 2018 Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show. Photo by Valerie Njie.

    “From the Ground Up” was the underlying theme of Bidwell Training Center’s (BTC) exhibit at the 2018 Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show. In grand style, the event served to kick off BTC’s anniversary year celebrating 50 years of helping people find direction and opportunity by way of its innovative adult training programs.

    The exhibit unfolded in the garden pavilion on the first floor of the David Lawrence Convention Center where displays created by the horticulture technology students included vignettes suggestive of the many programs that BTC has offered over the past 50 years. Each was constructed from repurposed items, to create fun and even somewhat whimsical plant containers bursting with the colors of spring. The exhibit also included salutes to our sister affiliate Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, which is also celebrating 50 years of enriching the lives of area youth through creative arts programming

    In addition, BTC’s horticulture department took their collective skills to a new height as they expanded their theme in a second floor display, which included the Pennsylvania Woodmobile. The traveling exhibit managed by the State Department of Agriculture offered guests a fun and interesting romp through Pennsylvania forests and highlighted the economic importance of trees to the Commonwealth. The walkthrough display contained both educational and interactive components for tree lovers of all sizes. As if that wasn’t enough, the Woodmobile was set amidst islands of fun facts about economically important plants, also created by BTC’s horticulture students.

    This event was not an add-on for the students, but rather a unique way of bringing all of their studies and classwork together within the context of one amazing applied learning module.

    Other features included an amazing floral display created by Sogetsu Ikebana, rose experts from the Pittsburgh Rose Society and our ever-popular garden shop with an array of seeds, plants, and garden-related products.

    In addition to over 400,000 people enjoying the show first hand, BTC’s horticulture department received accolades from both the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Tribune Review and got great media coverage on KDKA’s “Pittsburgh Today Live.”

    Watch for more exciting events as we continue with our year-long anniversary celebration including ways in which you can participate in this unprecedented time in our history.

  4. 2017 Jesse W. Fife, Jr. Fabric of Our Community Award Invitation

    Jesse W. Fife, Jr. Fabric of Our Community Award

    Date: Thursday, Nov. 9
    Time: 5 p.m.–8 p.m.
    Location: 1815 Metropolitan St.

    Bidwell Training Center (BTC), an affiliate of Manchester Bidwell Corporation, will honor the 2017 Jesse W. Fife, Jr. Fabric of Our Community award recipients that embody the mission and vision of changing the lives of adults in transition in Southwestern Pennsylvania and whose contributions impact the career-training sector. As we approach our fifth decade, we celebrate those who have made significant contributions over the past 50 years with an awards ceremony and reception.

    The 2017 Jesse W. Fife, Jr. Fabric of Our Community honorees are:

    • Dr. E. Peter Benzing
    • IBM
    • K. Leroy Irvis, posthumously

    This year we look back at those who have helped us transition from a 1960s poverty program to a 2017 ACCSC School of Excellence, and we wouldn’t be where we are without Dr. E. Peter Benzing, IBM, and K. Leroy Irvis.

    During the ’80s IBM did more than provide us with personal computers, staff, furniture, and the basis for our information sciences program. IBM gave us the credibility we needed at the time by backing our mission and our vision. In addition, it gave us a framework of how to work with future corporate partners. BTC students and the Pittsburgh region have benefitted immensely from IBM’s, Sal Faso’s, and Ted Robert’s support.

    Due to Dr. Benzing’s belief in our mission and vision, we have funneled countless students through our chemical laboratory technician major and into bright careers. His tireless efforts and guidance have not only assured that every student that steps into the Dr. E. Peter Benzing Chemical Laboratory is taking their first step into a new life, but also when they step out of that laboratory for the last time a positive future awaits them and their families for future generations.

    The only reason our doors stayed open in our early years was because of K. Leroy Irvis. He was our champion inside and outside the state legislature, and worked tirelessly to make sure BTC had the resources to follow through on its mission. This was a man who wouldn’t even let a snowstorm stop him from his purpose—doing good for ordinary people. Without Mr. Irvis, BTC would not exist today, and that is why we are posthumously honoring him with a Jesse W. Fife, Jr. Fabric of Our Community award.

    To purchase tickets ($50/ticket) visit fabric2017.eventbrite.com or contact Ellen Mixon at 412-323-4000 Ext. 163 or at emixon@manchesterbidwell.org.

    For sponsorship opportunities please contact Courtney McShea at 412-323-4000 Ext. 257 or email cmcshea@manchesterbidwell.org.

    All proceeds from the event will directly support BTC’s graduate commencement ceremony and student educational materials.

  5. From Bidwell Training Center Graduate to Ph.D.

    Beverly Poellnitz

    Bill Strickland with Beverly Poellnitz, Ph.D., on her recent visit to Manchester Bidwell Corporation.

    Bidwell Training Center (BTC) is turning 50! For five decades, Bidwell has changed lives.

    We have been privileged to share in our students’ and graduates’ journeys as they worked to transform their lives—often making great personal sacrifices to provide a better future for themselves and their families.

    We celebrate their successes and feel a deep sense of satisfaction as we watch the positive ripple effects continue over generations.

    Recently, BTC graduate Beverly Poellnitz, Ph.D., came back to visit her alma mater, and she shared her story with us.

    Poellnitz attended BTC for electrical wiring training and graduated in 1978 and became a licensed electrician. She credits BTC with giving her the confidence to move to Phoenix with her child. Poellnitz’ first job was as a low-voltage, life safety system technician where she installed fire alarms in hospital operating rooms and she continued to work in the field for years.

    Passionate about learning, Poellnitz went back to school at a community college, and 40 years later she has five degrees to her name: two associate degrees, one bachelor’s degree, one master’s degree, and one Ph.D. That’s how she got her nickname—Dr. Bev. Her accomplishments don’t stop there. In June 2017, Poellnitz became a certified storyteller.

    As part of our 50th anniversary, we are inviting alumni to get in touch with BTC to share their stories of success. You are the best part of BTC’s story—part of the rich tapestry of our history that we like to call the fabric of our community. Whether you graduated from BTC one month ago or nearly 50 years ago, we want to hear from you! Your story is part of our story, and your story can inspire others to move their lives forward in a powerful way. Go to manchesterbidwell.org/50-stories-submission and tell us your story.

  6. ‘Genius’ Bill Strickland is more than just a kid from the neighborhood

    Bill Strickland describes himself as “a kid from the neighborhood who got involved in the arts.”

    While that is certainly true, he might also be selling himself a bit short — Strickland, who is the President and CEO of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation, is a MacArthur Fellowship “genius” grant winner, founder of the Grammy-winning subscription jazz series MCG Jazz, and author of Make the Impossible Possible, a book about a kid from Pittsburgh’s ghetto whose crusade to inspire others to achieve the extraordinary would lead him to a board seat at the National Endowment for the Arts and a speaking gig at Harvard, among other things.

    It all started in the 1960s in the Manchester neighborhood on Pittsburgh’s North Side, where Strickland grew up as a disengaged youth. Then he met high school art teacher Frank Ross. Ross showed Strickland the power of art, education and community, and instilled in him an interest in working with the kids through an after-school arts program.

    In 1968, Strickland launched his own small after-school ceramics program. That initiative is now called the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild Youth & Arts program — it serves public school students via classes in ceramics, design, digital imaging, 3-D manufacturing and photography.

    By 1972, Strickland had also taken over leadership of the Bidwell Training Center, a struggling job training center near the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. He rebuilt the organization into a “pretty good” job training and vocational center in partnership with various Pittsburgh area industry leaders.

    Once again, Strickland is being humble: This “pretty good” vocational center is a nationally accredited and state licensed adult career training institution, with programs that range from horticulture to medicine to the culinary arts.

    “We partner with industry leaders to develop curriculum specific to their industries,” explains Strickland. “We have these industry advisory boards that work directly with us. The programs we develop are industry compatible, so as to have a high degree of placement and retention.”

    Manchester Bidwell’s arts education opportunities for public school students are directly connected to this work.

    “Our goal is to improve the retention and graduation rates of public school students using arts as an intervention strategy,” says Strickland. “As kids get better in the arts, their retention improves. We graduated 99 percent of our kids last year. We average 90 percent, and a lot of these students go on to college. I think this is a very powerful way of adding value to what these kids need to have to be successful.”

    Once out of school, arts program alumni can continue on with Manchester Bidwell via vocational training (for ages 18 and up). By talking to industry leaders to determine their workforce and skills training needs, they have been able to make these programs incredibly effective.

    According to Strickland, between 75 and 85 percent of Manchester Bidwell’s vocational students go to work every year in the industries in which they were trained. These numbers are consistent across Manchester Bidwell’s eight affiliate sites.

    Those affiliates operate in cities across the United States and follow the same model as the one in Pittsburgh. Five more sites are in the works and should be online in the next 18 months. Strickland’s goal is to eventually have 100 centers throughout the country.

    While Strickland has reason to be proud of the programs he has built, he remains steadfastly humble. To him, the impactful work of Manchester Bidwell is a relatively simple matter.

    “I decided I wanted to get involved with the arts in the community and that’s how this started,” he says. “This has really been a 40-year story of one neighborhood.”

    See the original story here.

  7. Bidwell Training Center 2016 Graduation ­Ceremony

    By New Pittsburgh Courier

    Bidwell Training Center, a [an affiliate of Manchester Bidwell Corporation] located at 1815 Metropolitan Avenue in Manchester, recently held their 2016 Graduation ceremony at Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 Fifth Avenue Oakland.

     

    Read more and see photos here.

  8. Bill Strickland to speak at “Israeli Arabs and Jews: A Shared Society,” a presentation by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

    The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh will hold a program of four panelists that will present “Israeli Arabs and Jews: A Shared Society,” on Sunday, April 3 from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 Fifth Ave. The panelists will present constructive approaches to help all members of Israeli society progress together. The presentation is free and open to the community.

    Panelists will include American and Israeli leaders with collective experience in education, government and the nonprofit sector: Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu, Dalia Fadila, Michal Steinman and Pittsburgh native Bill Strickland.

    Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu is co-executive director of The Abraham Fund Initiatives, an Israel-based nonprofit that promotes coexistence and equality among Israel’s Jewish and Arab Palestinian citizens.

    Dalia Fadila, Ph.D., was the first female dean of an Islamic college in Israel. She is the current president of Al-Qasemi Engineering and Science College and past provost of Al-Qasemi Teacher Training College. Both colleges are near Haifa, Israel. Fadila is the founder of Q Schools, private schools for teaching English and personal empowerment. Q Schools offer special outreach to women as future educators, entrepreneurs and leaders. She is a fellow at the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel and participates in other national and international forums dealing with education and Israel’s Arab minority.

    Michal Steinman is the executive director of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab Issues (IATF) in New York. The task force is a coalition of American Jewish organizations dedicated to learning about and raising awareness of Israel’s Arab citizens.

    Steinman joined the IATF after directing the Bedouin Sheep Growers Project, which involved working with senior government officials to create incentives for Bedouin farmers to organize.

    William “Bill” Strickland, Ph.D., is president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation. While attending college, in 1968, Strickland founded Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (MCG) to bring arts education and mentorship to inner-city youth in his neighborhood, Pittsburgh’s North Side. He later established Bidwell Training Center, which offers nationally accredited programs ranging from horticulture to medical technology; MCG Jazz, a venue for music performance and teaching; and the Drew Mathieson Center for Horticultural and Agricultural Technology. Strickland applied a vision of mentorship, education, and beauty to create educational environments similar to MCG outside Pittsburgh, through the National Center for Arts & Technology. Currently, center-affiliated programs operate in eight cities. In 2010, he was appointed to President Barack Obama’s White House Council for Community Solutions.

    Attendees are encouraged to continue the discussion during a dessert reception following the program. Dietary laws will be observed. Registration is requested; visit the online registration form at jfedpgh.org/iaedday. Contact Eric Probola at 412-992-5247 or eprobola@jfedpgh.org for more information or to submit questions to panelists in advance.

    Read more: The Jewish Chronicle – Metro Briefs March 17

  9. Home show exhibit honors city luminaries with planted art

    By Doug Oster / Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

    Gary Baranowski always seems to be in high gear, a blur moving quickly from one side of the “Rooted in Pittsburgh” exhibit to another, adjusting this and changing that.

    The director of the horticulture technology program at Bidwell Training Center is making sure everything is just right before the Duquesne Light Home & Garden Show opens for the day at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The show runs through March 13.

    “I’m a bit of a nut job when it comes to detail,” he says with a hearty laugh.

    It’s something his students certainly have discovered about him, because learning to design innovative, successful garden spaces is all about attention to those details.

    Every home and garden show offers something different for visitors, and each person comes for a different reason. It might be for windows, hardscaping, a hot tub or a mop. But for gardeners, the Bidwell garden has been a welcoming and fun destination for over a decade. The school’s main display is upstairs this year with a renaissance garden downstairs.

    Bidwell is a post-secondary school, a training center for adults, teaching seven career areas, including horticulture. “It’s an opportunity for people to make a change for themselves,” he says with a smile.

    The school’s “Rooted in Pittsburgh” display has 14 different “rooms,” which showcase Pittsburghers who have made their mark on the cultural, historical or environmental aspects of the city.

    “We’re really happy to be to one of the inaugural events kicking off this bicentennial year in Pittsburgh,” Baranowski says. The ‘Burgh is celebrating its incorporation on March 18, 1816.

    Everyone knows about Andy Warhol and H.J. Heinz’s connection with the city, but one of the interesting parts of the show is discovering others.

    As a woman walked though the exhibit she could be heard saying, “I didn’t know Martha Graham was from Pittsburgh,” as she looked at a purple ballet mannequin wearing an ivy topiary tutu. The choreographer was born here in 1894.

    Baranowski pushed his students to think creatively about the person each chose to highlight.

    “It’s kind of like an aesthetic interpretation of their life or their contributions to the region,” he says.

    Each display uses a giant seed packet sign with a photo of the person being highlighted. Even those seed packets were prepared specially for the show. Students used tea bags to stain the paper for a vintage look, another small detail with big impact.

    So, how do you present Andy Warhol when thinking about gardening?

    “It’s not so much of a stretch,” Baranowski says. “Andy’s pop art — it’s colorful, it’s trendy, it features pieces of Pittsburgh. It was a very easy transition to bring some of his artwork to life. If you look at the line and the color that’s used in the arrangement, it mimics the iconic Marilyn Monroe.”

    Students kiddingly wanted Baranowski to purposely mess up his white hair and be photographed for the signage, as they think he resembles the artist.

    A giant ketchup bottle seemingly has its contents pouring into the garden in the form of red kalenchoe flowers in honor of H.J. Heinz. Right next to the bottle is a bushel of cucumbers used to make pickles, tomato plants and ripe tomatoes, actually harvested fresh from Bidwell’s greenhouse.

    Arnold Palmer’s golf bag includes garden tools and, in front of the display, are golf clubs arranged to look like giant golf tees with a topiary ivy acting as the golf ball.

    “The fun thing about our space is that it’s non-intimidating,” Baranowski says. “Just walk in and enjoy, soak it up. Sit a few minutes and enjoy.”

    The segment showcasing “Silent Spring” author Rachel Carson resembles her laboratory and highlights some of the insects she studied. Several visitors spent time looking through a microscope, revealing the amazing details of a bee’s wing.

    In Henry Phipps Jr.’s room, there is an old chair completely covered in planted succulents. It’s a hit with visitors as they gather around it, some reaching out to gently touch the plants.

    “I have a special place in my heart for Phipps,” says Baranowski, who was the former director of the conservatory and spent 18 years working there.

    Just across the hall is a tribute to Gene Kelly‘s 1952 “Singing in the Rain,” with the falling water represented by trailing vinca vine. A silhouette of Kelly’s famous image swinging on the light pole is included.

    Another clever display champions Roy and Rachel Hunt, who helped create the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, one the world’s greatest collections of botanical art, located on the Carnegie Mellon University campus. Two-dimensional books and paintings are transformed into 3-D works by the addition of real flowers.

    Baranowski and his students have been working for nearly a year on the project. That’s evident walking through the exhibit and enjoying all those details.

    The day the home and garden show opened was Baranowski’s most rewarding one, watching students react to visitors.

    “The smiles on their faces and the sense of accomplishment that they have walking away from it,” he says. “It’s an amazing opportunity for them, showcasing their abilities to the greater community.”

    Watch the video and see great photos here.

  10. Innovator of the Week: Bill Strickland, Manchester Bidwell Corporation

    By Nicole Rupersburg

     

    Bill Strickland describes himself as “a kid from the neighborhood who got involved in the arts.”

    While that is certainly true, he might also be selling himself short just a bit – Strickland, who is the President and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation, is a MacArthur Fellowship “genius” award winner, founder of the Grammy-winning subscription jazz series MCG Jazz, and author of Make the Impossible Possible, about a kid from Pittsburgh’s ghetto whose crusade to inspire others to achieve the extraordinary would lead him to serve as a board member of the National Endowment for the Arts and lecture at Harvard, among other things.

    It all started in the 1960s, in the Manchester neighborhood on Pittsburgh’s North Side, where Strickland grew up as a disengaged youth until he met his high school art teacher, Frank Ross. Ross showed Strickland the power of art, education, and community, and instilled in him an interest in working with the kids in the streets through an after-school arts program.

    In 1968, inspired by what Ross had taught him, Strickland was running a small after-school ceramics program on a regular basis as a way to give back to his struggling neighborhood. That program is now called the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild Youth & Arts program, serving public school students with classes in ceramics, design, digital imaging, 3D manufacturing, and photography.

    By 1972, Strickland had took over leadership of the Bidwell Training Center, a struggling job training center near the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild that he was able to rebuild into a “pretty good” job training and vocational education center in partnership with various Pittsburgh area industry leaders.

    Once again, Strickland is being humble – this “pretty good” vocational center is a nationally accredited and state licensed adult career training institution, with programs that range from horticultural to medical to the culinary arts.

    “We partner with industry leaders to develop curriculum specific to their industries,” Strickland says. “We have these industry advisory boards that work directly with us so the programs we develop are industry compatible, so as to have a high degree of placement and retention.”

    On the arts side of Manchester Bidwell Corporation, there is an abundance of arts education opportunities for public school students in middle school and high school, as well as evening arts education programming for adults.

    “Our goal of is to improve the retention and graduation rates of public school students using arts as an intervention strategy,” Strickland says. “As kids get better in the arts, their retention improves. We graduated 99 percent of our kids last year; we average 90 percent, and a lot of these students go on to college. I think this is a very powerful way of adding value to what these kids need to have to be successful.”

    Once out of school, arts program alumni can always continue on with Manchester Bidwell in their vocational training (for ages 18 and up).

    By talking to industry leaders to determine what their workforce and skills training needs are, Strickland has been able to get them engaged and invested in developing the curriculum and training their future employees.

    “It’s a very close working partnership and we think this is a good methodology for building our curriculum.”

    Strickland says between 75 and 85 percent of Manchester Bidwell’s vocational students go to work every year in the industries in which they were trained, in addition to the 90 percent average of kids in the arts program graduating from high school. These numbers are also consistent across Manchester Bidwell’s eight affiliate sites too.

    These eight affiliates operate in different cities across the United States and follow the same model as Pittsburgh’s. There are five more cities with affiliate sites in the works, which Strickland says should all be online in the next 18 months. He says their goal is to eventually have 100 affiliate centers throughout the country.

    While Strickland has reason to be proud of the successes of the programs he has built, he remains steadfastly humble. To him, the impactful work of Manchester Bidwell is a relatively simple matter. “I decided I wanted to get involved with the arts in the community and that’s how this started. This has really been a 40-year story of one neighborhood.”

     

    See the original story here.