The Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology’s (BCAT) ambition is to eliminate poverty in a city where the poverty rate is two and a half times the national average.footnote1 As you’ll learn in the video below, since opening its doors in 2013, BCAT has pursued its mission on two tracks: providing arts and technology education for high school students — with the goal of increasing graduation rates — and training adults for jobs that are locally in demand.
A unique approach to wipe out poverty in Buffalo
Watch this video to learn how melding art and tech educations creates brighter futures for both teens and adults
In creating this two-pronged approach to fighting poverty, BCAT is adopting a model that was pioneered in Pittsburgh more than 50 years ago, when a college student named Bill Strickland, inspired by an arts teacher who had mentored him as a teen, founded a ceramics program for disadvantaged youth and merged it with a trade school for adults.footnote2 Bringing two generations together benefits both groups, says Gina Burkhardt, BCAT’s president and CEO: “When the youth see the adults succeeding and the adults see the youth succeeding, it generates this environment of motivation, hope and opportunity.”
Watch to learn more from Burkhardt about how BCAT prepares under- and unemployed local residents for jobs that pay livable wages and offer opportunities for career growth. And meet a recent graduate of the workforce training program who has seen her life transformed by BCAT.
Support from Bank of America, part of the bank’s $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, is helping BCAT deliver its unique curriculum and meet its ambitious target of training more than 200 job seekers a year.