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Springfield Museums Announce Free First Wednesdays

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Museums have been awarded a three-year, $800,000 grant from the Art Bridges Foundation as part of a new Access for All initiative meant to help increase access to museums across the country. Thanks to this funding, the Springfield Museums will introduce Free First Wednesdays beginning in January 2024. All visitors will receive free admission on the first Wednesday of every month for the next three years. The Springfield Museums are one of just 64 museums in 36 states — and one of only seven in New England — to be awarded one of these prestigious grants. There are 33,000 museums in the U.S., according to the American Alliance of Museums. Based in Bentonville, Ark., the Art Bridges Foundation is a national arts nonprofit founded by philanthropist Alice Walton. With its $40 million investment in the Access for All initiative, the foundation hopes to eliminate barriers and encourage more people to visit and engage in more museums across the country.


MicroTek Receives Disability Employment Awareness Award

CHICOPEE — MicroTek Inc., a not-for-profit manufacturer of custom wire harnesses and cable assemblies, received the inaugural National Disabilities Awareness Month award for small to medium-sized Massachusetts companies, presented at the Massachusetts State House. MicroTek, founded in 1983, was established to provide employment opportunities and support to individuals with developmental disabilities. MicroTek is led by an all-women volunteer board of directors. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh presented the keynote and spoke about the state’s support for employing people with disabilities. “When we prioritize hiring people with disabilities, everyone wins. We can address the ongoing workforce crisis, foster independence, and become a stronger workforce with a better understanding of the lived experience of people with disabilities. We need to take this opportunity to break down stigma and become more inclusive.”


Greenfield Savings Bank Supports WorkHub on Union

EASTHAMPTON — Greenfield Savings Bank has contributed $5,000 to the Chamber of Greater Easthampton’s co-workspace project, WorkHub on Union. This partnership underscores the shared dedication of both organizations to empower local entrepreneurs and enhance the overall prosperity of the Greater Easthampton community. WorkHub on Union seeks to establish a dynamic hub where local professionals, creative minds, and innovators can converge. This project is envisioned to foster collaboration, idea exchange, and networking among individuals representing diverse industries. The donation from Greenfield Savings Bank reflects its commitment to nurturing initiatives that contribute to the holistic well-being of the community. This collaboration symbolizes the mutual resolve of Greenfield Savings Bank and the chamber to promote entrepreneurial spirit and offer resources that uplift local businesses and residents.



Bay Path Awarded $1.2 Million for Special-ed Teacher Training

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University has been awarded a federal grant totaling $1,201,833 from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs to train special-education teachers. The grant, to be applied over five years, will help Bay Path fund scholarships for graduate students and help the university create and offer professional-development opportunities to faculty and teachers at partnering school districts, which include Holyoke Public Schools, Worcester Public Schools, and the Center for Applied Behavioral Instruction, based in Worcester. Through this project, Bay Path will prepare for accreditation from the Council of Exceptional Children, the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the success of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. Bay Path is one of 41 colleges and universities nationally to receive funding through this grant competition. The grant comes at a time when Massachusetts has adjusted its licensing requirements as a means of streamlining the process by which an educator becomes qualified to teach special education. In 2019, it was reported that 118,867 students in Massachusetts had complex or challenging special-education needs, up from 62,660 in 2004, representing the majority of the state’s entire special-education student population of nearly 174,000.


Kuhn Riddle Receives Award

AMHERST — Kuhn Riddle Architects has been designated a 2023 Emerging Professionals Friendly Firm. The award is presented annually by the New England American Institute of Architects, and Kuhn Riddle has been awarded this title for the third year in a row. The award is presented to architecture firms which demonstrate initiatives that promote the advancement of emerging architectural professionals. The firm must evaluate their policies from an emerging professional lens, show recognition of emerging professionals at their firm, and value the development of emerging professionals to sustain the future growth of their practice. Application for the award must be completed cooperatively by an emerging professional and a firm principal. Kuhn Riddle currently has five emerging professionals who are going through the licensure process.


Westfield State University Cuts Ribbon at Parenzo Hall

WESTFIELD — Westfield State University hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 13 for the newly renovated Parenzo Hall. The more than $40 million project, a partnership with Westfield State University and the Massachusetts Division of Capital Assets Management and Maintenance, started its planning phase in 2018 and was completed earlier this month. The newly designed, 90,000-square-foot building will host Dever Stage, the Center for Student Success and Engagement, the Department of Education, the Department of Political Science, and the new Collaboration and Maker Space. Parenzo Hall will also be home to Westfield State’s new Research, Innovation, Design, and Entrepreneurial (RIDE) Center, which will serve as a hub of innovation and workforce development in Western Mass., fulfilling the university’s stewarded agreement to engage students while partnering and collaborating with external stakeholders and community leaders. RIDE will partner with MakerHealth, a division of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which will outfit RIDE with equipment and modules that support transdisciplinary innovation, design, and entrepreneurial practices. Westfield State University will be the first undergraduate institution in the nation to establish this partnership.


Marcus & Millichap Facilitates

Sale of Industrial Warehouse

AGAWAM — Marcus & Millichap, a commercial real-estate brokerage firm specializing in investment sales, financing, research, and advisory services, announced the sale of 277 Silver St. in Agawam, an industrial warehouse, for $2,850,000. Klein, an investment specialist in Marcus & Millichap’s Boston office, had the exclusive listing to market the property on behalf of the seller, a group of private investors. The buyer, an individual/personal trust, was procured by Tom Hovey and Eric Suffoletto of Atlantic Capital Partners. At closing, the building was 100% occupied by two tenants, including Otis Elevator. The warehouse occupies a 3.4-acre parcel, offering a total of 37,650 square feet, featuring five loading docks and 40 parking spaces.


AIC Launches Online Graduate

Forensic Psychology Program

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) has introduced an online master of science in forensic psychology program. This new offering, complementing the college’s established in-person program, is tailored for those with a bachelor’s degree interested in psychology, criminal minds and behavior, and the workings of the criminal-justice system. Applications are now being accepted for the inaugural program for the spring 2024 semester, set to begin in January. The online forensic psychology program is a unique opportunity to study the psychopathology of criminal minds and behavior, from serial killers to individuals with co-morbid mental-health and addiction issues. Students will delve into various subjects, including policing, evidence practices, victimization, risk assessment, and other specialized topics. After earning their degree, many forensic psychology students embark on careers in public and private settings, including prisons, youth facilities, social services, and mental-health agencies. Some even explore careers as forensic researchers or positions with federal and state agencies.


Country Bank Recognized

for Charitable Giving

WARE — Country Bank announced that the Boston Business Journal has once again named it an honoree in its annual 2023 Corporate Citizenship Awards, recognizing the region’s top corporate charitable contributors. The magazine annually publishes this list to highlight companies that promote and prioritize giving back to their communities. During this year’s celebration on Sept. 7, 100 companies qualified for the distinction by reporting at least $100,000 in cash contributions to Massachusetts-based charities last year, as noted above. This year’s honorees include companies from such industry sectors as financial and professional services, healthcare, technology, retail, and professional sports. Country Bank, ranked 44th, employs 220 staff members within Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties, many of whom volunteer for various nonprofits throughout the year.


Hazen Paper Unveils 11th Cover for Hall of Fame Yearbook

HOLYOKE — Hazen Paper’s 11th enshrinement yearbook cover for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, created with Hazen HoloJet paper, projects an amplified refractive three-dimensional image of a basketball symbolizing the Hall of Fame dome. For 2023, this includes Fresnel Lens technology and a new holographic element called “Metal-Morphosis,” utilizing a new deep-groove system for sharper images and greater dimensionality. Appearing to move and change with the angle of light, the holographic treatment induces engagement and interaction with the book. Hazen originated the holography completely within its vertically integrated Holyoke facility. The custom holograms were created in Hazen’s holographic laser lab, then micro-embossed and transfer-metallized onto smooth, 12-point WestRock Tango C2S using Hazen’s environmentally friendly Envirofoil and HoloJet process. The holography is created with an optical structure that is imparted on the surface of the paper (underneath the printed graphics) with an ultra-thin polymer layer that is less than 2 microns in thickness. Envirofoil is a non-plastic paper that is as recyclable as paper.


Food Bank of Western Mass.

Adds STCC as Member Agency

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) has become the first college in Massachusetts to join the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts as a member agency. Starting this month, STCC will be a part of the region’s food-assistance network. STCC was also the first college in Massachusetts to join the Stop & Shop School Food Pantry Program, which provides donations to support the college’s food pantry, known as the Ram Mini Mart. Students who qualify can visit the on-campus Center for Access Services (CAS) to pick up free meals, groceries, and other necessities stored in the Ram Mini Mart. Stop & Shop offers a school-based food-pantry program to help reduce hunger among students in communities served by the company’s more than 400 stores in the Northeast. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts provides healthy food to 173 members of the network in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties. These independent pantries, meal sites, and shelters are on the front lines, providing food and other resources to individuals, families, seniors, children, college students, people with disabilities, and veterans.