HCC Culinary Arts Program Ranked Among Best in U.S.
HOLYOKE — The Culinary Arts program at Holyoke Community College (HCC) has been ranked among the best in the U.S., according to Best Choice Schools, an online college resource guide. HCC placed 50th among the Best Culinary Schools in America for 2021, a list that also includes such esteemed institutions as the Culinary Institute of America, which has branches in New York, California, and Texas. HCC’s culinary program ranked third in New England after Johnson & Wales in Providence, R.I., and Southern Maine Community College in Portland. In particular, HCC was cited for the quality of its one-year certificate and two-year associate-degree programs in culinary arts, as well as its 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, which opened in downtown Holyoke in 2018. The program summary notes that the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute is equipped with four modern kitchens, a bakery, a hotel lab, and a student-run dining room. Since it opened, the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute on Race Street has become a favorite host site for college, community, and regional events. Best Choice Schools also notes that HCC is the only public college or university in Massachusetts with a culinary-arts program accredited by the American Culinary Federation.
Polish National Credit Union to Merge with Premier Source Credit Union
CHICOPEE — Polish National Credit Union (PNCU), headquartered in Chicopee, and Premier Source Federal Credit Union (PSFCU), headquartered in East Longmeadow, have signed a definitive merger agreement. PNCU will be the continuing credit union and acquire PSFCU’s 4,526 members and nearly $70 million in assets. The PSFCU headquarters will become the East Longmeadow branch of PNCU. This year, PNCU celebrates 100 years of service and has approximately $700 million in assets. Upon completion of the merger, PSFCU members will enjoy full use of PNCU’s seven full-service branches and access to business banking services, investment services, and insurance products. Having negotiated a definitive merger agreement, both credit unions will now seek regulatory approval from the Massachusetts Division of Banks, the National Credit Union Administration, the Mass. Credit Union Share Insurance Corp., and their memberships. The merger is expected to be completed in the spring of 2022.
UMass Dining Services Awarded $319,000 to Support Use of Kelp
AMHERST — UMass Dining Services has been awarded $319,000 by the Henry P. Kendall Foundation for its “Strategies to Onboard Kelp into College Dining Programs” project. Between 2013 and 2020, the Kendall Foundation’s gift of $1,395,000 supported UMass Dining’s commitment to local, healthy and sustainable sourcing. As an example, the Real Food Challenge initiative of 20% ‘real food’ by 2020 — a goal UMass Dining exceeded, achieving 29% — was supported by this funding. In addition, the grant supported infrastructure improvements, relationship building, promotional campaigns, local partnerships, innovative programs, and regional convening for key stakeholders. This two-year project will introduce nutrient-dense, regeneratively grown New England kelp into the UMass Dining program as a choice for students and an opportunity for climate action. UMass Dining is partnering with New England-based Atlantic Sea Farms on the project as an innovative leader in the kelp industry on the East Coast. Atlantic Sea Farms offers not only kelp products, but expertise in the climate impact of growing and eating kelp, as well as the volume necessary for a large campus dining program. This partnership with Atlantic Sea Farms will drive normalization and inclusion of kelp on university menus. Along with recipe and concept development, UMass Dining plans to engage students by integrating kelp into its Low Carbon Dining campaign and its Diet for a Cooler Planet campaign. This project aims to lay the path for replication so that kelp can be introduced to menus in college and university dining programs across the country.
WNEU Offers New MS Program in Pharmacogenomics
SPRINGFIELD — The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Western New England University (WNE) announced a new master of science degree in pharmacogenomics degree starting in the fall of 2022. Pharmacogenomics is a fast-growing field that helps medical practitioners prescribe personalized treatment plans to patients based on how they may respond to medications due to their DNA sequence. Pharmacogenomics supports personalized or precision medicine, which explores a patient’s genetics, environment, and lifestyle as a way to craft a treatment plan that will best suit the patient. The goal of this modern approach to medication therapy is to limit adverse effects while optimizing response and beneficial outcomes. The master of science in pharmacogenomics degree from WNE — the only degree of this type in New England — prepares graduates for careers that will revolutionize the delivery of healthcare and make the most of emerging opportunities from basic laboratory research to clinical implementation of personalized healthcare.
HCC Jump Start Program Earns National Recognition
HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) has been named a finalist for a national Bellwether Award in recognition of Jump Start, the college’s job-training and placement program for people who receive public assistance. HCC was one of 10 U.S. colleges selected as a finalist by the Bellwether College Consortium in its Workforce Development category, which identifies strategic alliances that promote community and economic development. Bellwether finalists represent leading community colleges whose programs and practices are considered outstanding and innovative. The Bellwether Awards are widely regarded as one of the nation’s most competitive and prestigious recognitions for community colleges. HCC was the only community college in Massachusetts selected as a 2022 Bellwether finalist. This is the second year in a row HCC has been named a Bellwether finalist. HCC’s “Together HCC” fundraising and social-media campaign was selected as a finalist for 2021. For more than 20 years, HCC’s Jump Start program has been creating sustainable career pathways for individuals who were previously unemployed or had limited education and work experience. Jump Start offers workforce training for jobs as culinary workers, nursing assistants, pharmacy technicians, customer-service representatives, preschool workers, production technicians, and bus and truck drivers. Finalists for Bellwether Awards are invited to join the consortium and take part in workshops, events, and other activities. Award finalists will undergo a rigorous second and final round of review before the winners are announced in January.
Comcast Acquires Russell Municipal Cable TV
RUSSELL — The town of Russell has a new broadband, video, and voice services provider, as Comcast announced it has acquired Russell Municipal Cable TV. Comcast plans to transition residents and businesses to its Xfinity and Comcast Business suite of services through the end of the year. Comcast is now available in 248 communities across Massachusetts and employs local residents at its Xfinity Stores in Springfield and Holyoke, and in several business and technical operations centers across the state, which serve residential customers and businesses.