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From Bidwell Training Center:

In an economy where employment news is often bleak, Bidwell Training Center will be celebrating the successes of its graduates — many of whom obtained training related jobs throughout the region since April 2010 — at its annual commencement ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2011 at Rodef Shalom Synagogue in Oakland from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

“We work with local businesses to design programs and curricula that will equip our graduates with the skill sets that are required for employment in today’s marketplace. That’s one of the reasons why our graduates continue to find employment despite Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate jumping from around 4.5% in early 2008 to near 9 percent last year. At our commencement ceremony, we put a human face on these statistics by showcasing our students’ stories of struggle and triumph,” says Valerie Njie, Executive Director and Senior Vice President, BTC.

James Plowman, a recent Chemical Laboratory Technician graduate, says “Prior to being laid-off and enrolling at Bidwell Training Center, I felt like a robot — working a series of dead end jobs with no purpose in life. I had no ambition or desire to do more with my life and lacked the confidence to consider pursuing a career.” Today, Plowman has an Occupational Associate’s Degree in Specialized Technology and a new career as a chemical laboratory technician at a local chemical company.

This year, Senator Joe Scarnati, President Pro Tempore of the Pennsylvania State Senate, the third-highest constitutional office in the state, will be the keynote speaker. Scarnati is a native of Brockway in Jefferson County and a lifelong resident of the 25th District he serves. He is a leader in reforming how business is conducted in the Senate and is committed to making the institution more transparent and accessible to Pennsylvania residents. Scarnati also served as the Commonwealth’s 31st Lieutenant Governor with the passing of Catherine Baker Knoll in 2008.

As part of Bidwell Training Center’s graduation celebration, we are proud to honor the late Jesse W. Fife, Jr., recipient of the fourth annual Fabric of Our Community Award. The award showcases the extraordinary accomplishments of an individual who has made significant and consistent contributions to the career training industry.

BTC’s staff and faculty would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of BTC’s commencement ceremony.

Lead Sponsors
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, University of Pittsburgh, UPMC Health Plan

Partnering Sponsors
Michael Bryson, Community College of Allegheny County, Community Care Behavioral Health, Scott and Sue Lammie, MARC USA, Bill and Nancy Rackoff, Schneider Downs Wealth Management