FAQs

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[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="dotted"][vc_toggle title="1. What is the Manchester Bidwell Corporation?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] Manchester Bidwell Corporation is the parent company of the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Bidwell Training Center, and the National Center for Arts & Technology.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="2. What is MCG Youth & Arts?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (MCG) contains MCG Youth & Arts, which uses the arts to educate and inspire youth to become productive citizens. MCG Youth & Arts’ flagship program, the Apprenticeship Training Program (ATP), provides after school visual arts instruction and character development opportunities for high school aged youth in four well equipped art studios: ceramics, design, digital arts, and photography. The youth visual arts program characteristics consist of the following elements:

  • Industry standard resources
  • Low student-to-teacher ratio
  • Professional teaching artists
  • Mentorship
  • No cost to the student
  • Not on school property
  • Student-centered learning
  • Afterschool
  • Competitive disciplines
  • Open each weekday (MTWRF)
  • Consistent, ongoing program calendar
  • Transportation provided
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[vc_toggle title="3. What is Bidwell Training Center?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] Bidwell Training Center (BTC) provides career training and academic remediation classes for unemployed and underemployed adults with a focus on industry related job placement. BTC is a private licensed school in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its programs are accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Career Schools and Colleges. BTC offers training programs in: Chemical Laboratory Technician, Culinary Arts, Electronic Record Medical Assistant, Horticulture Technology, Medical Claims Processing, Medical Coding and Pharmacy Technology. BTC’s career training programs can be completed in approximately one year or less. The following are key aspects to the adult career-training program:

• Training is completed in 1 year or less
• Demand-driven training
• Career specific skill development
• Job placement assistance
• Low student-to-teacher ratio
• Small campus
• Mentorship
• No cost to the student
• Simulated work environment
• Hands-on lab experience
• Field knowledge
• Soft skill development

[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="4. What is National Center for Arts & Technology (NCAT)?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] The National Center for Arts & Technology (NCAT) is the MBC affiliate that works with cities to “replicate” the Manchester Bidwell Model. Replication refers to the process by which communities’ civic leaders work collaboratively with the NCAT team to create and open a Center for Arts & Technology. By using the replication model, a community seeks to develop visual arts education for high school and middle school age youth and career training for eligible adults 18 years and older with a high school diploma.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="5. What is the Manchester Bidwell Education Model?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] The Manchester Bidwell Education Model is comprised of four essential components:

  • Career training for demand-driven jobs for adults
  • High-quality visual arts programming for youth
  • A Center for Art & Technology (CAT): that is, a world-class facility filled with light, art, and flowers, designed to elevate the human spirit
  • MBC Culture: a warm and embracing environment of dignity and respect that underscores and elevates our fundamental philosophy that “all human lives are valuable”

When successfully implemented, a CAT provides a two-part strategy to address the real challenges of poverty:

  • By providing an avenue to training-related employment to adults who are unemployed, underemployed or who have been dislocated from work
  • By using the visual arts as a tool of engagement to promote academic achievement among youth

By definition, the Manchester Bidwell Education Model is designed to serve both youth and adults in a community.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="6. What Is Replication?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] Replication is the term used to describe the process by which the National Center for Arts & Technology (NCAT) collaborates with a city’s leadership to develop and open a Center for Arts & Technology (CAT) based upon the Manchester Bidwell Education Model. The model requires affiliated centers to offer demand driven adult career training and youth visual arts education programming. Replication is comprised of several phases:

  • Feasibility
  • Planning
  • Implementation
  • Maintenance
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="7. What happens during the feasibility phase? (Fee: $150,000)" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] A city’s leadership formally enters the feasibility phase of replication by signing a contract with NCAT and making its first payment. Feasibility is a due diligence study that determines whether a city, town or community possesses the characteristics necessary to open and sustain a Center for Arts & Technology based on the Manchester Bidwell Education Model.

Feasibility requires the NCAT team to:

  • Assess a community’s organizational landscape
  • Make recommendations for youth and adult programming
  • Identify and cultivate leadership
  • Identify and evaluate potential locations for the center
  • Identify potential funders and introduce them to the model

During the feasibility phase two reports are provided, an interim and final report. These reports detail the work performed and they are provided to the party with whom NCAT has contracted. The contract for feasibility is $150,000.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="8. What happens during the planning phase? (Fee: $300,000)" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] Once a community has received and reviewed the final report from the feasibility phase, it decides whether to continue with the replication process. The next phase of replication is Planning and begins with the city’s leadership and/or funding source(s) signing a Planning Memorandum. As the name implies, this phase takes a city through the actual process of planning and opening a Center and may take as long as 24 months.

During this phase the NCAT team will work collaboratively with the city to perform tasks including but not limited to:

  • Create a legal non-profit entity
  • Develop board and executive leadership
  • Assist in hiring adult and youth staff
  • Assist site location and internal building design
  • Implement CAT branding requirements
  • Provide program development for adults and youth
  • Assist with marketing and fundraising

During Planning, a city’s leadership and/or funding source(s) will continue to receive periodic progress reports from the NCAT team. The total cost for planning is $300,000. NCAT’s fee is $150,000. The remaining $150,000 is used by the Center to hire an executive director, secure architectural renderings and establish the Center’s 501(c)3 tax-exempt status.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="9. What work is completed during the implementation phase?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] The Implementation Phase begins once a Center offers its first class. The contract for Implementation is called an Affiliation Agreement. The Affiliation Agreement governs the relationship between the Center and NCAT from implementation forward.

NCAT’s fee for Implementation is $150,000 each year for two years and is incorporated into the capital campaign budget.

Once the Center is open for classes, it is considered operational. During this phase the NCAT team will work collaboratively with the city to:

  • Utilize feedback from external sources, such as externship sites and advisory committees to modify curriculum to align with market demand and meet local employment needs.
  • Incorporate necessary curricular changes as advised by externship sites, employers and advisory committees.
  • Implement the Manchester Bidwell Education Model, taking advantage of 45 years of intellectual property that has been tested and refined at MBC.
  • Leverage Bill Strickland’s reputation and credibility as a social innovator and education thought leader to attract financial support for the Center.
  • Provide continued professional development and training for new and existing staff at Centers for Arts & Technology.
  • Provide strategic guidance to conform the initial Youth Arts programming to the Manchester Bidwell Education Model.
  • Provide strategic guidance to obtain national accreditation for the state-licensed career training programs.
  • Provide access to the Temoku Youth Arts software.
  • Provide access to the STARS software to manage the career-training program for adults.
  • Provide support for the Center’s staff to attend NCAT’s annual conference.
  • Provide monitoring and quality assurance for the Center.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="10. What is the average operating budget for a CAT?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] NCAT suggests that new CATs establish a $1–1.5 million dollar operating budget. All CATs are encouraged to open with funds already committed for capital renovations and two to three years of operating support.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="11. How large is an average CAT facility?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] NCAT suggests that a center identify a facility with 15,000 to 20,000 square feet of usable space for its programs. To date, all existing CATs have been renovations of existing structures. Operating budgets and facility square footage may vary per center depending on a number of factors including: adult and youth program offerings, corporate and philanthropic support, real estate location and renovation costs, staffing, etc.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="12. Is there a connection between the youth arts and the adult training program?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] The purpose of both programs is to inspire participants to become productive citizens. Youth arts students may transition into the adult career-training program, however many students go on to pursue higher education – career training, military service, or college/university.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="13. Who does a CAT typically serve?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] Youth arts programming typically serves public school students enrolled in grades 9-12. The demographics of youth served vary from city to city. Adult career training programs typically serve unemployed, underemployed, and dislocated workers. The demographics for adults served vary from city to city.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="14. How is a CAT funded?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] NCAT suggests that each CAT develop a diversified base of support. Foundations, individual contributions, corporate sponsorships, and government grants support existing CATs. Given the local nature of funding, each CAT has developed a unique portfolio of support.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="15. Can you send us a detailed breakout of the MBC and CAT budgets?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] During the replication process, NCAT develops pro-forma budgets for each CAT based upon the anticipated programming and the intended facility. These budgets are continuously refined during the replication process. To obtain a sense of the operating budgets of other Centers, NCAT recommends the use of Guide Star (http://www.guidestar.org/). This database provides information on each nonprofits mission, legitimacy, impact, reputation, finances, programs, transparency, and governance.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="16. What relationship does a CAT have with local organizations?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] The adult career training program partners with local employers to form a program advisory committee, secure program-specific externships, and for job placement. The adult career training program partners to receive referrals for prospective students and to refer students for needed social services.

The youth arts program connects with the community through program advisory committees and by forming partnership with local schools. Connections may also be made with local artists and entities that align with the industry-grade processes reflected in the curriculum.

[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="17. How do CATs ensure the adult career-training program does not compete with local schools and colleges?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] CATs do not compete with local colleges and schools. Rather, CATs are a complement to the public school system and provide access to visual arts education that is often absent or provided in a limited fashion in traditional schools. Regarding adults, CATs serve the unemployed or underemployed. Many of these individuals do not have financial resources to attend two and four year colleges, may not have prior knowledge or exposure to higher education, or may have had negative experiences that prevent them from pursuing education at these facilities. Moreover, the adult career training program presents with these unique characteristics.

  • Cost (there is no cost to the student)
  • Class sizes are smaller
  • The model focuses on job placement
  • Soft skills training is embedded in the model’s curriculum
  • The model offers academic remediation
  • The model has a staged admissions process
  • Career training within a year or less
    [/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="18. Are there people in the queue as NCAT replicates more sites?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] During any fiscal year, there are a number of international and U.S cities that express an interest in bringing the Manchester Bidwell Education Model to their city.
    [/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="19. Are there any independent studies demonstrating that MBC’s performance results meet evidence-based standards?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] MBC has had five case studies presented by the Harvard School of Business. June 3, 1993 – 9-693-087; January 28, 2000 – MCG005; March 17, 2005 – N9-806-111; March 16, 2006 (A) – 9-806-112; November 16, 2007 (B)– 9-806-112; April 14, 2010 – 9-810-097. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple is the only other organization/person to have five case studies conducted by the Harvard Business School.

MBC is unable to provide copies of these studies as they are copyrighted. To order copies of these materials, please call 1-800-545-7685 or write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="20. Are the Centers for Arts & Technology accredited?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] NCAT’s goal is to have each Center achieve the distinction of accreditation. After two years of successful operation, NCAT will evaluate the Center’s readiness for National Accreditation. This thorough process will examine all program areas and compare them to the Accreditation Standards. Once accreditation is earned, the accrediting agency will require frequent and annual reports to assure continued compliance with the standards.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="21. Why does the youth arts program focus on visual arts?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] The Manchester Bidwell Education Model uses the visual arts as the tool of engagement to educate and inspire youth. Individuals of all levels of proficiency and from different grade levels can be taught in one studio. The visual arts are inherently democratic in that they do not require any prerequisite training for participation. Learning through the visual arts is also able to reach students that do not respond well to traditional forms of education. The visual arts processes are tactile and engaging and provide an avenue for experiential learning that differs from traditional educational methods. Students have the opportunity to create individual physical outcomes that serve as permanent reminders of personal success. Also, these unique physical outcomes make it possible for the community, families and other educators to celebrate student achievement through exhibitions and artist talks.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="22. What are the outcomes for the youth arts and adult career training programs?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] By offering a professional-grade youth arts afterschool program that uses mentorship to foster human development, more high school students will:

  • Experience on-time grade-to-grade transition
  • Graduate from high school in four years
  • Enroll in higher education

By offering state-of-the-art career training that is driven by local industry demand and in partnership with regional employers, more adults will:

  • Secure training-related employment
  • Earn a living wage
  • Experience opportunities for professional advancement
    [/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="23. Why doesn’t the Apprenticeship Training Program serve middle school students afterschool?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] The Manchester Bidwell Education Model serves middle school students during summer and school day experiences. However, the flagship afterschool program serves high school-aged youth. Ninth through 12th grade students are able to achieve program outcomes of on-time high school graduation and college enrollment. Targeting groups outside of this range does not compliment the short and long term goals of the program model. In addition, serving middle school-aged students imposes safety and logistical constraints on program delivery.
  • The safety of this age group is of primary concern given the transportation of middle school-aged youth in fall and winter months where daylight is limited.
  • Serving middle school students imposes additional program costs because the Center is obligated to feed students daily.
  • The Center must assume responsibility to provide homework help, which will require additional staff to be hired to compliment teaching artists.
  • Research has shown that student dropout rates increase significantly during high school years, with the greatest intervention needed as students transition from 8th to 9th grade. Engaging middle school students through afterschool arts education is not a proven prevention strategy for individuals who are at-risk of dropping out.

With these known facts in mind, the Manchester Bidwell Education Model engages middle school students during its summer program and offers six weeks of daylong programming. Not only does it support the community’s needs of summer enrichment opportunities, but is addresses the need to engage 8th grade students during their transition year to high school.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="24. What are the types of adult career training programs offered through NCAT and the CATs?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] The majors offered through the NCAT replication process include the following career offerings:

  • Occupational Associate’s Degree in Specialized Technology
    o Chemical Laboratory Technician
  • Diploma Majors
    o Culinary Arts
    o Horticulture Technology
    o Electronic Record Medical Assistant
    o Medical Claims Processor
    o Medical Coder
    o Pharmacy Technician
    o Phlebotomy

Typically the CATs open with one to two diploma majors that align to mid-skills job positions within the industries identified during the feasibility phase of the replication process. Once a CAT has successfully established its initial cohort of courses and achieved the desired metrics, the CAT may explore other industry need-based career training opportunities with the assistance of NCAT.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="25. Does an outside party determine the effectiveness of the program? If so, whom?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] Ideally, three bodies provide third party oversight to Centers for Arts and Technology.

  • Each CAT must be licensed by the state as a private school.
  • An advisory committee continuously evaluates each training program. These advisory committees provide feedback on curriculum development, industry trends, externship opportunities, and the performance of graduates.
  • It is NCATs goal that each Center also acquires national accreditation, which provides third-party oversight of the entire adult career-training program.
    [/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="26. What types of partnerships do you have around childcare, housing, and/or transportation?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] The majority of our partnerships are based on referrals and relationships built throughout the community. Our department staff and advisors work with students to assure they can commit to a full-time schedule at school and externship sites. Once students pass the entry test requirements they are scheduled for an interview with program staff and faculty. The discussion at the interview includes readiness for training, childcare, sustainable housing, transportation, etc. Each student must demonstrate a plan for establishing these critical supports before enrolling in the training program. Once students are accepted into training, they are given a confirmation letter they can use to gain additional support through public assistance caseworkers and other support organizations.
    [/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="27. What kind of case management partnerships do you have for students with challenging life circumstances?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] There are resources for students experiencing challenges through community partnerships established in the feasibility phase of the replication process. Many of the CATs have student advisors that work through problems inside and outside of the school with adult learners. In cases where no student advisor is available, the Director of the Center works with students. All CATs have a student referral program to assist students with issues that staff and faculty may not be trained or prepared to address.
    [/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="28. How does the post-training job placement work?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] A student services team works with the student from the point of enrollment until initial employment. Each training department assists students with searching for employments, completing online applications, resume writing, thank you and introductory letters, and conducts mock interviews with employers who provide feedback to students. In addition, the student service placement representatives review student resumes, conduct career development workshops, assist students in job search and support students post-graduation.

 

While on externship, the student services representative accompanies the program faculty on visits to externship sites to monitor the progress of the student’s job search, learn of new skills the student has gained experience, and discuss available job opportunities and those the student is pursuing.

 

When a student obtains initial employment the student services representative collects required data for reporting to the State Department of Education and the Accredited Commission once the program is accredited.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="29. Do CATs keep retention data post placement?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] Students report initial placement information once hired in training related positions. The placement data reported is verified with employer(s) by the school. Best practice dictates that a third party verifier will provide another verification of employment reported. The Accrediting Commission for Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) requires that career schools retain student records for 1.5 times the period of training.

Teachers maintain a relationship with graduates and gain knowledge of their career progress. Each program is supported by an advisory committee, comprised of employers, who report on student progress and success in the workplace. One major employer tracks hires from the Center and provides reports on the status of graduates’ hired.

The Center offers lifetime placement assistance. Students wishing to find another position report back to the Center to update their resumes and learn of positions they are qualified to apply for. These students are followed by the placement staff who collect data as the students transition into new career positions.
[/vc_toggle] [vc_toggle title="30. Who is the certifying organization for your vocational training programs?" open="false" css_animation="left-to-right"] Bidwell Training Center is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). It is highly recommended that after two years of successful operation, NCAT will evaluate the Center’s readiness for National Accreditation. This thorough process will examine all program areas and compare them to the Accreditation Standards. Once accreditation is earned, the accrediting agency will require frequent and annual reports to assure continued compliance with the standards.
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