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Manchester Bidwell Corp. founder Bill Strickland stepping into new role

| Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 5:45 p.m.
Bill Strickland, a community leader, author and the president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corp., at his organization's offices August 5, 2013.
Bill Strickland, a community leader, author and the president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corp., at his organization's offices August 5, 2013.

Manchester Bidwell Corp. founder Bill Strickland is stepping down from his role as the nonprofit's president and CEO and will become its executive chairman, focusing his work on public speaking, fundraising and helping other communities establish similar organizations.

Strickland, 70, founded the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild in 1968 to provide disadvantaged youth with free courses in ceramics, design, digital studios and photography.

A few years later, he took over leadership of the Bidwell Training Center, which is now a nationally accredited and state-licensed adult career training institution. The center partners with industries to train youths for in-demand jobs, including positions in medicine, culinary arts and horticulture technology.

Manchester Bidwell Corp. now houses the guild and the training center along with a jazz program, a horticultural and agricultural technology program and the National Centers for Art and Technology, according to the release.

“We believe that our history of programs that started under impossible economic and social circumstances and were transformed into world-class arts and education organizations continues to serve as a powerful source of hope locally and internationally,” Strickland said in a statement. “It's a challenge to describe how much it means to all of us at MBC to be part of half a century of making people whole by helping them find the skills and paths to become productive members of society.”

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Jenkins will take over the president and CEO roles, according to the release.

“Bill Strickland has positively impacted tens of thousands of lives in his 50 years at Manchester Bidwell, helping fellow Pittsburghers build new careers and providing a model for other cities to emulate,” Mayor Bill Peduto said in a statement. “He is a leader who has inspired our entire city to do better, to be better. He is a trailblazer, who overcame all barriers to create a unique place that transforms lives.”

Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676, or via Twitter @wesventeicher.

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