PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was just a few months ago that students at Brightwood Career Institute downtown were notified their school would be closing next year, citing not enough demand for the associates degrees and technical certifications the school offers.
But students were told not to worry, those soon to graduate would. All that changed on Wednesday, however, when the school announced it would be closing its doors in two days.
Students at the Brightwood Career Institute downtown and at five locations across the state were shocked when they heard the news their school would be closing Friday.
Some say the time and money they leveraged to be at the school was an enormous sacrifice but one they were willing to invest in.
“As a single mom, you struggle. You want to do better in your life,” student Alyssa Clay, 24, said.
That’s exactly why Clay enrolled at Brightwood Career Institute. She has a 2-year-old boy to care for and says many other students are in similar situations.
“I went to school with many single moms and we’ve struggled to get through this process for them to tell us that we can’t finish now,” Clay said.
In an email to students, Brightwood notified them the school would be abruptly closing its doors Friday.
The announcement has left students like Clay and others sick with worry about how they would recoup classes, money, transfer to other schools or complete externships. In addition to her son, Clay helps care for her sick grandmother. She was studying to become a medical assistant.
“I came here to look for answers for [my grandmother], to go work with her, hopefully, and I heard about Brightwood through a friend,” Clay said.
The bright future she and others thought they had through their Brightwood education they fear is dimming. The dean declined to speak on camera but was guiding students through this time of darkness.
Clay says she leveraged everything. With a loss of work due to school, she’s in jeopardy of losing her apartment. She had to leave her externship at a doctor’s office Wednesday when they received word her school was closing.
“I had to leave. I actually talked to my supervisor before I left, and her and my teacher had spoken on the phone and she was just speechless. She said you’re a hard worker, I don’t understand why you’re going through all of this,” Clay said.
Clay is among hundreds of students across the state just finding out their studies and dreams here are not going to turn out they way they planned.
KDKA-TV News reached out to the parent company, Education Corporation Of America, but have not received word back.
Students say the dean, teachers and administration were always so supportive and they are also scrambling trying to find other alternatives for the hard-working students at Brightwood.