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Springfield Official
Named to Casino Panel
BOSTON — Bruce Stebbins, business development director for the city of Springfield since September 2010 and a former member of the Springfield City Council, has been named to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The five-member panel is now complete. The other members are Chairman Steve Crosby; Judge James McHugh, who served on both the Superior Court and the Massachusetts Appeals Court; Gayle Cameron, a former New Jersey State Police lieutenant colonel; and Enrique Zuniga. Prior to his work with the city, Stebbins worked for the National Assoc. of Manufacturers and the Mass. Office of Business Development.

WMECo Grant Seeks to Boost Industry Competitiveness
SPRINGFIELD — The precision-manufacturing industry in Western Mass. received a major boost recently with the announcement of a $10,000 private initiative to increase the skills competencies of employees. The Regional Employment Board of Hampden County Inc. (REB) received the grant from Western Massachusetts Electric Co. (WMECo) to provide skills-enhancement courses and college-credit courses to 65 incumbent employees of the region’s precision-manufacturing companies. The award will be used as a match to a $150,000 grant received by the REB and its partners represented by the Western Mass. Chapter of the National Tooling Machining Assoc. (WMNTMA), which was announced in October by Secretary Gregory Bialecki of the Mass. Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. The $150,000 grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s John Adams Innovation Institute supports the work of the REB’s Precision Manufacturing Regional Alliance Project (PMRAP), which is focused on generating innovative and creative ideas that will raise the industry’s and region’s economic profile. “We are pleased to make a contribution to education that will stimulate growth for small and medium-sized precision-manufacturing companies,” said Peter Clarke, WMECo president and COO. “The region will benefit from sustained job creation and continued economic development.” In addition to the REB and the WMNTMA, partners in PMRAP include Holyoke Community College, Springfield Technical Community College, the Economic Development Council of Western Mass., and the region’s seven vocational-technical-comprehensive high schools. “The Patrick-Murray administration has made strong investments in growing the Commonwealth’s advanced manufacturing industry,” noted Bialecki. “This grant, in addition to the $150,000 grant from last year, will go a long way to helping give employees the vital training they need to help support their companies’ and industry’s continued growth.”

Forgay Shares Professional Leadership Secrets
LONGMEADOW — Bushido Business: The Fine Art of Professional Leadership is a new anthology featuring Richard Forgay II, president and CEO of Business Leadership Mastery. Forgay joins forces with internationally recognized business icons to share their secrets of success in ways one can immediately apply to business and life for sustainable success. Bushido is the traditional ethical code, or ‘way of the warrior,’ of the Japanese samurai. It is founded on the seven values by which they conducted their life and business of warfare — honesty and justice, heroic courage, compassion, polite courtesy, complete sincerity, loyalty, and duty and honor. Forgay, along with authors and professional speakers Tom Hopkins, Brian Tracy, and Stephen Covey, apply this historical code to the challenges faced by today’s leaders in business, government, education, and other diverse arenas. Forgay noted that the book shares time-proven methods of achieving sustainable success through leadership, team building, sales, marketing, business operations, interpersonal relationships, and customer-service excellence. Forgay’s contribution to the anthology is titled “Mastering the Bushido Code.” “Bushido Business is a moral compass, an authentic expression of individual and organizational values that defines their influence and culture,” he said. With straightforward language and supporting diagrams, Forgay applies the Bushido Code to modern-day professional leaders and actual events. Then he facilitates a structure for readers to apply their own virtues and values to be prepared to do the same in their chosen fields of expertise through a series of self-assessment Bushido Challenges that, if accepted, promise to produce immediate and transformational results. Forgay challenges leaders to embrace their traditional principles and values as the blueprint for major transformation. “Adherence to empowering values is always in vogue,” he said. “Identifying and activating value-based cultural standards of excellence is a way for leaders and teams to embody dignity, trust, and professionalism in their realms of responsibility among those they lead and serve in the business, government, educational, and spiritual communities.” Forgay educates and empowers top executive and entrepreneurial leaders to excel at growing companies where people, productivity, customer satisfaction, and profits thrive in any economy. For more than two decades, he has led and served thousands of people to achieve all-time-high sales and multi-million-dollar revenues, and he has earned international recognition as an effective executive leader in high-pressure, intensely competitive environments in the highest levels of corporate America. For more information on Bushido Business, visit Insight Publishing of Sevierville, Tenn. released the book on March 7. It retails for $19.95.

Project Provides Free Interview Clothes
ENFIELD, CT — For many soon-to-be college graduates at Asnuntuck Community College, Stacy’s Closet is a way to relieve some of the stress students with limited resources face, according to Stacy Lanigan, associate director of career services. Stacy’s Closet, now in its sixth year, solicits donations year-round of gently used business clothes from the college’s faculty and staff, as well as the surrounding community. In keeping with the community college’s mission, Lanigan noted that the clothes are also available free to members of the community. She said the college is committed to serving all residents in its service area, which includes Enfield, East Granby, East Windsor, Ellington, Granby, Somers, Stafford Springs, Suffield, and Windsor Locks. Stacy’s Closet accommodates students graduating in June and December. Offerings include shirts and blouses, business suits, shoes, belts, and ties. “We aim to prepare the whole student,” said Katie Kelley, dean of Student Services. “Not just academically, but also for the expectations in the workplace and the interview process.” Donations of clean, professional attire on hangers are being accepted through April.

Construction-industry Employment ‘Sluggish’
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the week ending March 10, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims in the construction industry was 351,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 365,000, according to the U.S. Labor Department. The four-week moving average was 355,750, unchanged from the previous week’s revised average of 355,750. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6% for the week ending March 3, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week’s unrevised rate of 2.7%. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 3 was 3,343,000, a decrease of 81,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,424,000. The four-week moving average was 3,394,250, a decrease of 25,250 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,419,500. In related news, Associated Builders and Contractors noted that, despite a loss of 13,000 construction jobs in February, the industry’s unemployment rate dipped to 17.1%, down from 17.7% in January. The nation’s construction industry has added 65,000 jobs, up 1.2%, since February 2011, when the unemployment rate stood at 21.8%. The non-residential building construction sector added 2,000 jobs in February and has added 15,000 jobs, or 2.3% year over year, with employment now standing at 663,200. The residential building construction sector added 2,000 jobs for the month and has added 7,000 jobs, up 1.3%, compared to one year ago, with employment at 573,000. “Predictions for monthly job growth have been on the rise, and February’s performance exceeded those expectations,” said ABC chief economist Anirban Basu. “However, that is only true for the broader economy, not for the construction industry.” Basu added that ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator, which declined during the fourth quarter of last year, foreshadowed this jobs report and indicates that construction-industry employment is likely to be sluggish in the months ahead. “The good news is that the overall economy continues to mend, implying ongoing recovery in construction spending,” said Basu. “This should eventually translate into more-stable non-residential construction employment growth later this year.” The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending March 3 were in New York (+16,478), California (+4,320), Pennsylvania (+2,859), Texas (+2,116), and Virginia (+1,554), while the largest decreases were in Massachusetts (-2,974), Rhode Island (-1,071), New Jersey (-1,034), Puerto Rico (-562), and Kentucky (-284). Overall, the nation added 227,000 jobs as the private sector expanded by 233,000 jobs and the public sector shrank by 6,000 jobs, according to the Labor Department. Year over year, the nation added 2,021,000 jobs, up 1.5%. The unemployment rate stood at 8.3% in February, unchanged from January.

‘Western Mass. Economic Review 2012’ Available
SPRINGFIELD — Western Massachusetts Electric Co. (WMECo) recently published “Pioneering Futures: Western Massachusetts Economic Review 2012,” reviewing the lifestyle, educational, and business aspects that make the area an attractive region. “Western Mass. offers a prosperous future for businesses looking to move to the region,” said Peter Clarke, president and chief operating officer of WMECo. “WMECo proudly produces this publication in order to expose the many appealing attributes of this unique location.” Clarke noted that some areas covered in the review include the region’s industry mix, business innovation, education and productivity, international trade, and quality of life. The review also compares the region’s ranking in these and other areas to nearby regions and other states. The review can be found at Printed copies may be requested by calling (413) 787-9333.

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