Bidwell Training Center graduate
Thomas Kellner understands how a single event can alter the course of a lifetime. When this former grocery store manager became ill in 1998 and had to undergo brain surgery, he found that his life had changed forever.
“I’d been in the same job for 25 years, and after I recovered from my illness, I found that my job was no longer waiting for me. I had to go on disability, but I wanted to become viable in the workforce again.”
How Thomas Found BTC
Thomas discovered that he was eligible for a state-funded program through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation that would give him an opportunity to reeducate at Bidwell Training Center.
“It was the best decision of my life. I graduated in 2002 and now I’m working at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as a pharmacy technician certified in chemotherapy. I work rotating shifts between Presbyterian and Montfiore, and I love it. The skills I learned at Bidwell enabled me to do that.”
Limited class size and affordability were two of the key factors at Bidwell that made Thomas’s career change possible.
“The instructors were fantastic and made a lasting impact on my life. They spent time with each of us to make sure we were successful. The training was top notch, and I can do my job well because of the techniques I learned at Bidwell. The field trips were very beneficial because they exposed us to a variety of options in the workforce. It was great to see things firsthand in a retail or hospital environment and have questions answered.”
Before entering Bidwell, Thomas was working 70 hours a week, and believes that the long hours contributed to his health issues.
“I worked to my detriment. This change has made my wife a completely different person, because I am a different person. I don’t have to carry the load of a stressful job on my back, and I have a golden opportunity to advance my career. Life is what you make it, and Bidwell gave me the opportunity to make something of my life. I was offered a job before I graduated. It’s the best kept secret in town. If a person wants to be successful, he or she has every opportunity to do that at Bidwell.”