Manchester Bidwell Corporation Celebrates 50 Years

MANCHESTER BIDWELL CORPORATION—Valerie Njie, Bill Strickland, Rev. James Robinson, Kevin Jenkins (Photos by Courier photographer J.L. Martello)

November 15 was an extraordinary evening at 1815 Metropolitan St., the site of the legendary Manchester Bidwell Corporation. A celebration of 50 years of an organization dedicated to creating an environment that fosters people on their path to success. Manchester Bidwell Corporation’s philosophy is simply, “Environment shapes people’s lives.”
So, how did it all begin?

According to the Manchester Bidwell Corporation website, “Our philosophy originated when founder Bill Strickland met Pittsburgh Public High School art teacher Frank Ross. Ross mentored Strickland through his teen years, impressing upon him the powers of art, education and community, and helping him obtain entrance to the University of Pittsburgh.
“While still in college in 1968, Strickland founded Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild to bring arts education and mentorship to inner city youth in his neighborhood. The MCG Youth & Arts program, as it is now called, serves public school students by offering courses in our ceramics, design, digital and photography studios.
“In 1972, Strickland assumed leadership of a struggling building trade school located near Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. Over the years, Bidwell Training Center evolved to offer programs in fields ranging from horticulture to medical. Currently, we are a nationally accredited and state licensed adult career training institution.”
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