Daily News

BOSTON — The state’s total unemployment rate for April was down one-tenth of a percentage point at 2.9%, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts added 4,100 jobs in April.

Over the month, the private sector added 4,000 jobs as gains occurred in construction; professional, scientific, and business services; education and health services; financial activities; information; and other services. Trade, transportation, and utilities; manufacturing; and leisure and hospitality lost jobs over the month. 

From April 2018 to April 2019, BLS estimates Massachusetts added 37,100 jobs. 

The April unemployment rate was 0.7% lower than the national rate of 3.6% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Preliminary estimates indicate that, in April, the Massachusetts unemployment rate fell below 3% for the first time since December of 2000,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta. “Year to date, the Commonwealth’s economy has added 25,400 jobs, showing that, even with a low, 2.9% unemployment rate, Massachusetts employers continue to add jobs to help fuel their growth needs.”

The labor force decreased by 3,200 from 3,843,500 in March, as 1,600 fewer residents were employed and 1,600 fewer residents were unemployed over the month.

Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped six-tenths of a percentage point.

The state’s labor-force participation rate — the total number of residents 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks — decreased one-tenth of a percentage point to 67.8%. Compared to April 2018, the labor-force participation rate is up 0.4%.

The largest private-sector percentage job gains over the year were in professional, scientific, and business services; information; construction; and education and health services.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, in partnership with the Estate Planning Council of Hampden County and the Pioneer Valley Estate Planning Council, recently announced Hyman Darling, a shareholder with Bacon Wilson, as the the recipient of the Distinguished Advisor in Philanthropy Award, to honor the important role that professional advisors play as champions of philanthropy in the region.

In receiving the award, Darling was also given the opportunity to award a grant of $1,000 the charity of his choice.

Professional advisors make critical connections between their clients and the mission-driven organizations that serve to enhance quality of life in the region. The Community Foundation recognizes an advisor each year in partnership with the Estate Planning Council of Hampden County and the Pioneer Valley Estate Planning Council who has distinguished himself or herself in philanthropic leadership.

Darling is the chair of the Estate Planning and Elder Law department at Bacon Wilson. He holds many honors and awards, and is a well-known estate planner. 

“I am truly grateful to be presented with this wonderful honor,” he said. “My parents inspired me to be philanthropic, and I have attempted to continue their tradition by donating not only financially, but also with my time. I am proud that so many of my clients are charitable, giving during their lives and within their estate-planning documents. I accept this honor on behalf of these clients as well.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — The Holyoke Community College Foundation awarded a record 231 scholarships to incoming, current, and graduating HCC students for the 2019-20 academic year, totaling nearly $250,000.

The HCC community recognized the awardees along with the donors whose generosity makes those scholarships possible at a May 9 reception in the HCC Bartley Center for Athletics & Recreation.

Longmeadow resident and HCC alumni donor Gregory Schneider, co-founder and chairman of 3BL Media in Northampton, and scholarship recipient and graduating art major Catherine Carija were the keynote speakers.  

“I had been out of school for 34 years,” said Carija. “Lucky for me I found my way to HCC. I was greated so warmly by faculty and staff, and without the generosity of donors and HCC Foundation scholarships — all that belief in me — I wouldn’t be graduating now and going on to Mount Holyoke College.”

Over the years, the HCC Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising arm of the college, has provided nearly $2.8 million in student scholarships while also investing in classroom equipment and technology for select academic and student-support programs. 

“The community is so invested in the foundation and in the college. It’s quite impressive,” said Amanda Sbriscia, vice president of Institutional Advancement. “People are passionate about our mission and the work that we do, and that translates into life-changing financial support.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College Assistant Professor of History Ian Delahanty and Assistant Professor of Religion Katherine Dugan are leading 24 Springfield College undergraduate students on a short-term study-abroad trip to Ireland from May 14 through May 23.

“This is such a great opportunity for our students to explore the landscape of Ireland, including Dublin, Belfast, and all the way up to Galway,” said Dugan. “The students will be engaged in tours of historic museums, participating in the Gaelic Games, and will experience a variety of cultural experiences in a historic country.”

The educational and cultural experiences the students will experience include excursions to Ireland’s dramatic Atlantic coastline, including the rugged Burren, the majestic Cliffs of Moher, and the rocky Aran Islands.

“Both Professor Delahanty and I teach similar minded courses, and we found some nice overlap in how we teach history, and the history of immigration, that would make this trip a great experience for everyone involved,” said Dugan, who plans on leading a trip to the Immigration Museum in Ireland. “We also realize many of our students are in majors that make it difficult for them to commit to a full semester of study abroad, so this short-term trip gives them an opportunity to experience a study-abroad experience right at the conclusion of a busy semester.”

Springfield College history major Hogan Tomkunas was interested in going on the trip to enhance his knowledge of history in a real-word setting.

“Being able to experience the rich history in Ireland firsthand made this trip very interesting to me,” he said. “Just being able to experience a different culture that is outside of my comfort zone is exciting, and to be able to have this experience shared with my faculty advisor and fellow students is just a perfect way to end the semester.”

Other students agreed. “This is great that Springfield College has given us the opportunity to have this experience,” said sports biology major Alex Rachmaciej. “The friendships that are made on these trips last a lifetime, so I am very excited to be part of this experience.”