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ORLANDO, Fla. – As the keynote speaker for CUNA’s Future Forum last week, Bill Strickland, head of Pittsburgh’s Bidwell Training Center and founder of the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, told the credit union figures attending that they are part of the solution.

Strickland took over the crumbling Bidwell in 1968 with the front door hanging from one hinge, students gambling out front, and discovered on his first day that it was deep in debt to the IRS. He has since turned it around, setting up state-of-the-art culinary, art, medical, and agricultural learning centers for adults and at-risk children in inner city Pittsburgh where he was born and raised and said he will die. He credited a public school teacher with saving his life and emphasized the philosophy that “Most people are born into this world as assets, not liabilities.”

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