Manchester Bidwell Corporation Opens New Education Center in Israel


PITTSBURGH – The Akko Center for Arts and Technology (A-CAT), a replication of the Pittsburgh-based educational model developed by Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC) and Bill Strickland, held its grand opening in Akko, Israel on Thursday, November 17, 2016. 

MBC, created largely for disadvantaged adults and youth in Pittsburgh, is the realized vision of Mr. Bill Strickland, founder and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation. Due to its educational philosophy and success in dealing with the marginalized and less fortunate, MBC has been replicated in 8 U.S. cities, with A-CAT being the first international replication site in the world. The site was specifically selected because of its diverse population of both Jews and Palestinians in order to serve as an olive branch and beacon of hope in the area.

Resembling MBC, the Akko Center for Arts and Technology is based on the proven educational philosophy that environment shapes people’s lives. The picturesque physical environment of center creates a value proposition, conveying to students that this unique space was built for them; in turn encouraging them to believe that they have value.

A-CAT’s mission through the 11,000 square foot center is to create, operate, and support a center for arts and technology in Akko that addresses the issues of personal development, multi-cultural tolerance, and economic advancement in Northern Israel. The goal of the center, similarly to the MBC model, is to place a high percentage of its adult career training students in life changing careers and an equally high percentage of the public high school youth arts program graduates in postsecondary education.

A-CAT will operate two adult career-training programs in 2017, with each course having separate curricula, instructors, and dedicated classrooms to serve the diverse population of Northern Israel. Partnering with Reut Institute, a major Israel think tank, and using 3-D printing and other tools of the Maker Movement, it is anticipated that a class using these digital manufacturing tools will begin later this month for Akko youth. All programs will be free of charge to the students.

About the National Center for Arts and Technology

The National Center for Arts & Technology (NCAT) is the MBC affiliate that works with cities to replicate the Manchester Bidwell Education Model. Replication refers to the process by which a community works collaboratively with the NCAT ( team to create and open a Center for Arts & Technology. By using the replication model, a community seeks to develop arts education for high school age youth and career training for adults 18 years and older. The final and most important aspect of replication is to create the physical and philosophical environment among the staff and students based on MBC’s core values: Respect, Listen, Shape, Embrace and Influence.

About Manchester Bidwell Corporation and its divisions

At Manchester Bidwell Corporation, we have a simple philosophy – environment shapes people’s lives. By constructing an atmosphere of art, light, music and supportive staff, we enable our students to become productive society members. We do this through two programs: Bidwell Training Center provides accredited and state licensed adult career training while Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild’s Youth & Arts program serves public school students by offering courses in our ceramics, design, digital and photography studios. We are so confident in our vision that we founded the National Center for Arts & Technology to create similar educational environments across the nation … and the world!


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