Company Notebook

United Way, Peter Pan Team up for ‘Stuff the Bus’

The United Way of Pioneer Valley and Peter Pan Bus Lines recently delivered more than 2,000 backpacks filled with donated school supplies to six separate school districts. These backpacks were given to students who are homeless.

School supplies were collected all summer at various locations throughout the Pioneer Valley. The school supplies were  purchased using a generous donation from Health New England. Students from the Westover Job Corps in Chicopee rode on the Peter Pan Bus and delivered all 2,000 backpacks.

United Bank Reports on PATH Plus Program

GLASTONBURY, Conn. — After introducing its innovative home-ownership and financial-education program in the Connecticut and Massachusetts markets 24 months ago, United Bank reported that it enrolled 92 participants in its PATH Plus program over the past two years, graduating several participants who have achieved their dream of owning a home or are currently seeking homeownership. PATH Plus is structured to provide three keys to homeownership — education, savings, and mortgage benefits — to low- to moderate-income individuals and families. As of this month, 92 individuals from Connecticut and Massachusetts have participated in the program, 36 are currently enrolled, 34 have graduated, and 11 of them are new homeowners. Other program graduates are in the process of identifying homeownership opportunities. And the bank’s foundations donated at total of $31,500 to nonprofits who have successfully referred and enrolled program participants. In Massachusetts — specifically the Springfield and Worcester regions — 52 individuals have participated, 28 have graduated, and four have closed on a new home.

BCC Launches New Education Department

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Community College has launched a new education department, combining and expanding the early childhood education and elementary education programming into one unified field of study. Patricia Kay, associate professor and chair of the Education Department, designed the new department. She worked closely with community partners, coalition groups, and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) to ensure the new department fit the needs of childcare providers in the Berkshires. The new education department will introduce learning as a cohort model — meaning students will all go through the same classes together as a group. The model is a hybrid, meaning it has an online and face-to-face component. The college also recently hired Barbara Kotelnicki as an assistant professor of Education to support this new department. The students will be made up of working childcare providers who will be able to discover real-world solutions to problems they are having in their classrooms and learn more than just the theory of early childhood education. They will gain experience through best practices, field work, and learning the essentials in teaching and caregiving. Students who graduate from BCC with an associate of science degree will be eligible to continue their studies in a bachelor of arts program or early childhood education licensure pathway through MCLA.

STCC, Ann Beha Architects Receive Planning Award

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and Ann Beha Architects (ABA) of Boston were honored for a renovation project which will transform a 19th-century warehouse into a modern center of campus life. The Society for College and University Planning awarded STCC and ABA the 2017 Honor Award for “Excellence in Planning for a District or Campus Component” for the Ira H. Rubenzahl Student Learning Commons, which is under construction. With an estimated completion date of fall 2018, the 100,000-square-foot Ira H. Rubenzahl Student Learning Commons will become the center of campus life for 8,000 students. The building, once a storehouse for gun stocks, predates the Civil War. One of the goals of the $50 million project is to honor the past while embracing state-of-the-art, energy-efficient technology. In charge of the design, ABA played a key role in transforming the historic structure into a modern space for students. Construction crews are replicating historic features to match the look and color of the original building. The 767-foot-long building will house essential student services, including advising, tutoring, career services, the library, and more. Students will have access to social spaces and a café. About 150 staff will work in the building. According to Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance Commissioner Carol Gladstone, “the Baker-Polito administration is pleased to see the renovation project team recognized for its work in creating a new, energy-efficient space for STCC students while preserving a piece of the Commonwealth’s history.”

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