Pennsylvania First Lady Susan Corbett Highlights Opening Doors Initiative During Visit to Manchester Craftsmen's Guild Youth & Arts After-School Program

Nov 05, 2012, 15:30 ET from Pennsylvania Office of the First Lady

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania First Lady Susan Corbett today toured Manchester Craftsmen's Guild Youth & Arts in Pittsburgh. The nationally recognized after-school program is designed to keep students on track to graduate by engaging them in the arts.

Mrs. Corbett observed workshops in ceramics, design arts, digital arts and photography. High school students work in professionally equipped studios that prepare them with skills for higher education and the work force.  

The visit officially kicked off Mrs. Corbett's Opening Doors initiative in the Pittsburgh region. Opening Doors aims to identify middle school students in Pennsylvania who are likely to drop out of high school and then provide them with guidance and support to stay in school.

"Manchester Craftsmen's Guild Youth & Arts is a prime example of a successful arts based after-school program," Mrs. Corbett said. "Last year, 98 percent of the students enrolled in MCG courses graduated from high school on time." 

The Manchester Craftsmen's Guild Youth & Arts program was founded by Bill Strickland, a longtime civic leader in Pittsburgh.  Funded through the support of the Pittsburgh Public Schools, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, grants and private donations, the after-school program serves more than 200 students each year.

"This after-school program encourages students to explore critical thinking, self expression and creativity," Mrs. Corbett said.  "I applaud the leaders, staff and volunteers of the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild for their commitment to ensuring promising futures for Pennsylvania's youth."

Mrs. Corbett launched the Opening Doors initiative in the summer of 2012 to increase the number of students in Pennsylvania who graduate from high school on time.  She travels across the state, talking with school administrators and students. She also visits schools and programs that are making strides to keep students in school.

To learn more about the Opening Doors initiative, visit  

Media contact: Kirsten Page, Governor's Press Office; 717-783-1116
Ashley Chunko, First Lady's Office; 717-787-1965

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the First Lady