How did Bidwell Training Center come to be?

For the past four decades, Bidwell Training Center has been a beacon of hope and light for the disadvantaged and dislocated residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania. The protests of the 1960s and demands for jobs for minorities in the construction trades led Bidwell Street Presbyterian Church and the Manchester community to establish Bidwell Cultural and Training Center in 1968.

In 1972, William Strickland Jr. was hired to lead Bidwell Cultural and Training Center. Mr. Strickland’s dream was to create a unique learning environment serving the needs of the community and providing educational opportunities to anyone who aspired to positively change their lives.

In the early 1980s, to reflect our changing vision, our name officially changed to Bidwell Training Center. In 1985, reflecting evolving employment requirements, we moved from the construction trades to the high tech and medical industries. We began working with businesses to design majors that would satisfy the current employment needs in the marketplace.

In 1999, BTC expanded with the opening of the Harbor Gardens Park facility. The United States Department of Labor awarded BTC the prestigious Epic Award for exemplary workforce development and public interest contributions in 2000. In 2002, the Drew Mathieson Center for Horticulture and Technology was opened.

In 2012, BTC was one of 17 ACCSC schools (out of 800) to receive the prestigious 2012 ACCSC School of Excellence Award.

Like the times, majors, locations and even the organization’s name have changed, but the mission of changing lives remains constant.

Bidwell Training Center's Mission

We change lives by providing career training and academic enrichment opportunities to adults in transition.

Chemical Technician

Students mix it up in the chemical laboratory technician program.