education | November 25, 2013

Building Hope, One School at a Time: The Financial Times Profiles Bill Strickland

For thirty years, education speaker Bill Strickland has used his innovative arts and training centers to transform the lives of thousands of impoverished adults and teenagers. In a major Financial Times profile, which serves as a sweeping retrospective of his work, Strickland discusses his education centers and why he believes we can't rely solely on America's schools. “We have to build places of hope rather than places of despair,” the Pittsburgh native says. “The public school system here is built to contain kids, not educate them. If you build prisons, you create prisoners."

He also reveals his thoughts on we should be doing to stop the cycle of poverty. We have to start sooner, he says, and put more money toward youth education.

It costs a lot of money to keep people poor. We spend $7bn in Pennsylvania on welfare out of a $28bn budget. What I am saying is invest in young people and give them the chance to be productive citizens. You do not have to subsidise them. We have doubled the graduation rate for inner city black and Hispanic kids. It is a methodology. We have figured this out. With all the presidential commissions and PhDs and Rand Corporation studies we still do not have the outcomes we want.

Strickland's educations centers continue to expand across the country (Buffalo is next to open in December 2013). Board member and first eBay president Jeff Skoll is a staunch supporter: “I think the world of Bill and what he has been doing. The demand for his centers is real. Now we just have to fulfil it,” he says.

Strickland is a mesmerizing speaker who will inspire you to make a difference, in your life and in the lives of those around you. To book Bill Strickland as a speaker, contact The Lavin Agency.

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education | November 22, 2013