Bidwell Training Center and Literacy Pittsburgh have been longtime partners. Our Workplace Skills Manager often refers students to their free programs, which include Culinary Arts, Horticulture Technology, and Pharmacy Technician. Bidwell has participated in our career fairs and often refers individuals to us who could benefit from our programs.
Earlier this year, Bidwell Training Center staff reached out to ask if Literacy Pittsburgh could provide classes for people who applied to their programs but were not able to pass the entrance exam. Chief Program Officer Lori Como and Director of Adult Education Gretchen Costello toured their facility to learn more about their needs and get an update on their programs and initiatives.
While the initial conversation focused on math and reading brush-up classes, it was soon clear that the partnership offered even more possibilities. Bidwell was also interested in providing digital literacy classes and hosting classes for the general public in GED Preparation and English Language Learning.
During the tour Lori noticed some empty spaces and asked if we could hold a tutor training there when we were back in person and Bidwell staff agreed. She then asked if they might have office space available to place our new program coordinator at their site. Given the potential for several class offerings, it made sense to have someone embedded at their organization. Their reply was an enthusiastic, “Yes!”
Leah Patterson, who heads up our new Northside–Ohio River area office, began working out of Bidwell Training Center two days per week in mid-April. In addition to coordinating Literacy Pittsburgh’s class offerings at Bidwell, Leah will test and interview students from the neighborhoods of Bellevue, Emsworth, Northside, Manchester and Sewickley and pair them with volunteer tutors.
Thus far, we have offered three 5-week sessions of a math brush up class. Upon completion, students will take Bidwell’s math test to see if their score is high enough to get into the training program of their choice. A reading brush up class will begin in August, and with the hiring of a digital literacy instructor, we are poised to launch additional classes in the fall.
We are excited about this expanded collaboration with Bidwell Training Center and look forward to what the future holds for our partnership.
Literacy Pittsburgh (formerly Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council) helps create better lives through learning. Recognized as a national leader in adult and family literacy, Literacy Pittsburgh is the largest provider of adult basic education in Allegheny and Beaver Counties. Last year, Literacy Pittsburgh helped some 5,000 individuals acquire the skills needed to reach their fullest potential in life and participate productively in their communities. Literacy Pittsburgh provides free, personalized instruction in workforce readiness, high school diploma test preparation, digital literacy, English language learning, math, reading, and family literacy through one-to-one and small class instruction. Founded in 1982, it serves local adults through numerous neighborhood locations and its Downtown Pittsburgh Learning Center.