Home > PUM Black History Salutes: Valerie Njie Executive Director/Senior Vice-President, Bidwell Training Center, Inc.

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PUM Black History Salutes: Valerie Njie, Executive Director/Senior Vice-President, Bidwell Training Center, Inc.


PUM Celebrating Black History Month 2014 Featuring Pittsburgh Leaders Who Inspire


PittsburghUrbanMedia.com proudly celebrates Black History Month this February 2014 by honoring and featuring African American Leaders who inspire and demonstrate a commitment to uplifting future generations. What makes a leader inspirational? The ability to inspire people to reach great heights of performance and success is a skill that leaders need. Passion, purpose, listening and meaning help make a leader inspirational.

As we celebrate Black History Month, the leaders featured during the month of February all demonstrate that they are significantly shaping the world – in business, government, academia, the non-profit sector and more.  They are advancing their influence exponentially by shaping and creating a new generation of leaders who are poised to help lead our world forward.

We hope their stories will serve as an inspiration to encourage others to be motivated and inspired to achieve their goals and dreams.



Valerie Njie, Executive Director/Senior Vice-President, Bidwell Training Center, Inc.


Valerie Njie is committed to making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.  Her professional career started as an elementary education teacher in East Chicago Heights, Illinois.  But she quickly realized that most of the children’s problems stemmed from societal ills that plagued their parents and the impoverished communities that imprisoned them.  Since obtaining a Master’s Degree in Management in 1973, Valerie has worked tirelessly to enhance the quality of people’s lives throughout the United States and The Gambia, West Africa, by eliminating road blocks to success via quality educational opportunities.  


At Bidwell Training Center, Inc. where Valerie recently celebrated 32 years of service, the mission is WE CHANGE LIVES.  Valerie oversees the operation of a state licensed, accredited career training institution that has trained and placed thousands of graduates in meaningful jobs throughout the region since 1968.  She is responsible for ensuring that the highest educational standards and services are afforded to everyone and that her adult students are treated with dignity and respect.  She feels blessed to be a change agent and strives to empower students with life-long skills that can free them from a revolving door of dependency and hopelessness.  Under Valerie’s leadership, Bidwell was named a 2012 School of Excellence by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). 


Valerie was influenced by her mother, grandmother and other African-American women in Homestead who taught her the importance of a higher sense of calling, spirituality, education and service to others. Those early lessons explain why she strives for excellence in everything she does and encourages others to be purposeful about improving their lives and surroundings. 


Valerie’s husband Saihou, an accomplished artist, has been a source of encouragement and has influenced her creativity and expertise in photography.  She is the proud mother of two extremely talented daughters, Lingaire and Njaimeh; both graduates of Washington University in St. Louis and the grandmother of Jibril, age 3. She feels the decades of organizing events with them have stretched her abilities to enormous heights.


Valerie has spent considerable time as a team leader conducting 70 accreditation visits to ACCSC schools throughout the US and Puerto Rico since 2002.  In 2007, she became a member of the commission’s Standing Appeals Panel and was recently elected an ACCSC School Commissioner for the period 2013-17.


Other professional and community activities include: University of Pittsburgh African American Alumni Council (Pittsburgh Affiliate President ), University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association Board, City Charter High School (Founding Board Member),  Health Careers Futures Board, Duquesne University Spiritan Division Advisory Board, Veterans Leadership Program  Advisory Board,  Pennsylvania Association for Adult and Continuing Education (PAACE),  Pennsylvania Association of Private School Administrators (PAPSA), Leadership Pittsburgh XIV,  Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.(Keeper of Properties and Photographer), Harmony Club of Homestead, National Council of Negro Women, NAACP, and the Urban League of Pittsburgh.


Awards & Distinctions

2003 & 2006 New Pittsburgh Courier Fifty Women of Distinction Award; 2009 WQED TV/Duquesne Light African American Leadership Award for Education; Pitt African American Alumni Association Blue Gold & Black: Colors of Celebration Leadership Award; 2009 Accrediting Commission of Career Schools & Colleges Team Leader of the Year Award; Park Place Church Community Service Award; Steel Valley NAACP Achievement Thru Excellence Award; Alpha Kappa Alpha Mothers of Distinction Award; 2012 ACCSC School of Excellence Award.


  1)   Celebrating Black History Month- what are you most proud of as a Black American and what you have been able to accomplish in terms of your career?

At Bidwell Training Center, Inc., our mission is WE CHANGE LIVES. I’m very proud that my faith, family, community, education, experiences, skills and passion have prepared me to be a change agent that has improved the lives of countless men and women, their families and communities.

2)    Why is Black History important to you and our world?

People continue to debate the need for a month dedicated to the accomplishments of African Americans. In a perfect world, we would be judged by our merits yesterday, today and tomorrow; but that universal concept continues to elude us in 2014. So we pause in February to focus on the impressive and sometimes phenomenal achievements of those who deserve to be celebrated every day.

3)    Any additional thoughts or comments about Black History?

Black history as we chronicle and promote it today did not exist when I was growing up. Great strides have been made to convey how African Americans have contributed to and continue to shape this country’s history, growth and development. I long for the day when people, regardless of race or sex, will be recognized and applauded for greatness.





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