William E. Strickland, Jr.

President & CEO, Manchester Bidwell Corporation


In 1968, William E. Strickland, Jr. founded Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild to bring arts education and mentorship to inner city youth in his neighborhood. Today, the MCG Youth & Arts program serves public school students by offering courses in its ceramics, design, digital and photography studios.

In 1972, Strickland assumed leadership of a struggling building trade school located near Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. A nationally accredited and state licensed adult career training institution, Bidwell Training Center currently offers programs in fields ranging from horticulture to medical technology.

Strickland has also established successful social enterprises as part of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation group. MCG Jazz lends the power of music with both its long-running subscription concert series and educational programming. The Drew Mathieson Center for Horticultural and Agricultural Technology contributes additional educational facilities as well as a production greenhouse serving local florists and retailers.

Strickland’s powerful fusion of mentorship, education, beauty and hope creates a safe space in which students of all ages can feel comfortable learning. This model of education has already been replicated in five American cities and initial planning is underway in Japan and Northern Israel.

William E. Strickland was a Counsellor at One Young World Summits: 2012 in Pittsburgh.