Six Flags Delivers Thousands of Diapers to Square One
SPRINGFIELD — Six Flags New England recently held a diaper drive to support the children and families served by Square One. Thousands of diapers were donated by Six Flags patrons, and, in exchange, donors were given free admission to the theme park. More than 500 cases of diapers were picked up at the Six Flags offices by Square One staff on Oct. 11 and delivered to the Square One Family Center at 1095 Main St. in Springfield.
Johnson & Hill Staffing Earns Top National Honor
WEST SPRINGFIELD — Johnson & Hill Staffing received the top honor in the 2018 American Staffing Assoc. (ASA) Genius Grand Award program, which recognizes the best and most innovative communications and marketing campaigns among ASA staffing agency members across the U.S. Johnson & Hill Staffing was honored for its innovative new website, marketing video, and social-media endeavors. A panel of communications and marketing experts selected the honorees based on the overall quality of their campaigns’ messaging, design and visual appeal, originality of approach, and outcomes.
UMass Amherst Launches Biomedical Engineering Department
AMHERST — The College of Engineering at UMass Amherst has established a new department of Biomedical Engineering, which will offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. It is the fifth department within the college. Biomedical engineering (BME) integrates engineering science, biology, and medicine into a cross-disciplinary field focused on improving human health and solving problems in the delivery of healthcare. Its key principle is that, by looking at the human body through the lens of engineering, one can apply the concepts of design, optimization, and programming to complex biological systems in order to detect, repair, and treat disease and to create diagnostic and therapeutic tools. The new program will be the core of biomedical-engineering research and teaching at UMass Amherst working within the College of Engineering and with the Institute of Applied Life Sciences. The institute was established in 2014 with $150 million from the Massachusetts Life Science Center and the university.
Bay Path Students Create PSAs for Girls Inc. of Holyoke Event
LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University students joined Girls Inc. of Holyoke at the university’s Empsall Hall last week to launch public service announcements (PSAs) in honor of International Day of the Girl Child, a celebration designated by the United Nations on Oct. 11. The PSAs, created by students in the Communications program, reflected different perspectives on how to encourage and empower girls of all ages and backgrounds. The event featured a ‘COMMversation,’ where university students and local panelists, including Girls Inc. Executive Director Suzanne Parker, Women’s Fund of Western Mass CEO Donna Haghighat, Springfield School Committee member LaTonia Monroe Naylor, Open Pixel Studios co-founder and animator Kathryn Taccone, and author and Bay Path Professor Maria Luisa Arroyo, engaged in conversations about how to create a world where girls can feel safe as they explore their individual paths to success. Bay Path students of all disciplines used their storytelling skills to focus on what they feel are currently the biggest challenges, as well as opportunities for girls and women. A walk-through gallery of their PSAs was displayed, prompting discussion among guests, faculty, staff, and other students. Naomi Naylor, daughter of LaTonia Monroe Naylor, attended the event as a local student ambassador. She showcased and described a work of art she painted called “Colors of Acceptance.” Following the event, she donated this piece to Bay Path University through Fondon. Arroyo, who was Springfield’s inaugural poet laureate, signed her book at the event. The ongoing partnership between Girls Inc. and Bay Path University for International Day of the Girl Child was further highlighted in the afternoon as Fondon offered a presentation of her research for “The Intersection: Women of Color On the Move.”
Paragus IT Celebrates Two Years of Employee Ownership
HADLEY — In 2016, Paragus IT CEO Delcie Bean implemented an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), which distributed ownership of 40% of the company to its (at the time) 40-plus employees. On Oct. 19, Paragus and its employees, now numbering more than 50, toasted Employee Ownership Month and celebrated self-ownership with a party at the firm’s headquarters in Hadley. An ESOP is an employee-owner program that gives staff an owner interest in the company, making them shareholders in addition to being employees. High-profile ESOPs in the U.S. include Harpoon Brewery, Publix Markets, Chobani Yogurt, King Arthur Flour, and Lifetouch. “After two years, it’s clear that the ESOP decision was a smart one,” Bean said. “It has fueled growth and inspired deeper commitment by giving everyone a direct stake and a personal investment in the future of the company.”
Elms Nursing Graduates Achieve 100% Pass Rate on Licensure Exam
CHICOPEE — Elms College announced that class of 2018 graduates from its School of Nursing achieved a 100% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses). This means every one of the college’s 2018 bachelor’s-degree graduates passed the licensure exam. In 2017, the Massachusetts pass rate for the NCLEX-RN was 86%, and the national rate was 87%; Elms College 2017 graduates achieved a pass rate of 96%. To date, the national 2018 NCLEX-RN pass rate for U.S. undergraduate nurses is 92%, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Inc.
Pathlight Awarded $23,000 to Support Innovative Curriculum
SPRINGFIELD — Pathlight, a Valley leader in residential and community services for people with intellectual disabilities or autism, has been awarded $23,000 in funding from the Westfield Bank Future Fund and the Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation to support a sex-education and relationships program that gives people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism the skills to build and maintain healthy relationships throughout their lives. The program, called Whole Selves, is the result of 10 years of teaching the social skills of relationships to adolescents, teens, and adults with a variety of disabilities at Pathlight’s Whole Children program. Whole Selves is flexible and individualized, uses explicit instruction, and has proven to be successful in local high schools where it is taught. Pathlight is developing the program to be available online to middle and high schools nationally. One goal of the Whole Selves project is to prevent the staggering rate of sexual abuse among people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (ID/DD). According to a recent report by NPR, people with ID/DD are sexually assaulted at a rate seven times higher than those without disabilities. A robust and accessible education is one solution to preventing abuse and isolation, and Whole Selves is developed specifically for this population. Pathlight is piloting the program in several schools this fall, with an eye toward releasing it nationally in 2019.
Phillips Insurance Agency Supports Joseph Freedman Bowl-a-Thon
CHICOPEE — Joe Phillips, president of Phillips Insurance Agency Inc., recently delivered a $5,000 check to John Freedman, president of Joseph Freedman Co., for the seventh annual Joseph Freedman Bowl-a-Thon being held Wednesday, Nov. 7 at AMF Lanes in Chicopee. The proceeds go to Camphill Village, a community for adults with developmental disabilities who live together and work together, caring for each other. Phillips Insurance Agency was established in 1953 and is a full-service risk-management firm with a staff of 27 professionals. The agency handles the personal and commercial insurance needs for thousands of individuals and businesses in New England.
Bradley Recognized by Condé Nast Traveler Readers as Third-best Airport in U.S.
WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) announced that Condé Nast Traveler released the results of its 31st annual Readers’ Choice Awards, with Bradley International Airport recognized as the third-best airport in the U.S. Travelers gave the airport high marks for “convenient on-site parking, plentiful charging stations and free wi-fi, decent restaurant options, and an overall relaxed atmosphere.” The CAA has initiated major terminal enhancements at Bradley over the last couple of years aimed at elevating the travel experience. Recent upgrades include the addition of Two Roads Tap Room, Escape Lounge, a Phillips Seafood restaurant, a duty-free shop, and a mother’s nursing room — and more improvements are underway. Additionally, the expansion of the airport’s route network continues to be a priority, with the airport most recently celebrating the launch of its latest non-stop service to St. Louis.
Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation Boosts HCC Culinary Arts Program
HOLYOKE — The Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation donated $50,000 to Holyoke Community College (HCC) for the benefit of students preparing for careers in the culinary-arts and hospitality industry. Bill Wagner, president of the foundation, presented a check for that amount to HCC President Christina Royal and officials from the nonprofit HCC Foundation during a brief ceremony on Oct. 2 at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. The $50,000 donation will go toward programs, equipment, maintenance, instruction, and student services at the institute, which opened in January in downtown Holyoke. During the ceremony, a plaque recognizing the donation was unveiled outside the institute’s general purpose lab, which is the teaching kitchen used for HCC’s non-credit culinary and workforce-training programs.