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ManeHire Awarded $25,000 Power Forward Small Business Grant

SPRINGFIELD — Nicole Polite, the owner of ManeHire, a staffing and recruiting agency, was recently awarded $25,000 through the Power Forward Small Business Grant. This grant is an extension of Boston Celtics United for Social Justice, a multi-focus commitment to addressing racial injustice and social inequities in the Greater Boston area. The program offers recipients the opportunity to be featured on national co-branded platforms and receive marketing and design resources customized to their specific needs to help their business grow and thrive. “It has always been my goal to ensure that the best of the best diverse candidates are well-represented in every executive search we conduct,” Polite said. “We measure and track diversity every step of the way.” With a focus on helping firms realize their potential through workplace diversity, ManeHire believes that a diverse and inclusive workforce enables innovation and that employers should be reflective of the communities in which they serve, she added. “This grant will help us provide workshops and training on ‘Diversity Sensitivity in the Workplace,’ ‘Getting Back to Work,’ and ‘Résumé-building Tips.’ Our community needs this. They need a little extra support to rise up after a challenging year.”

 

Colebrook Realty Brokers Sale of Former Faces Building

NORTHAMPTON — Colebrook Realty Services Inc. announced the sale of the 33,228-square-foot retail building on Main Street in Northampton between Main Street, LLP and 175 Main Street, LLC, a subsidiary of Redstone. The property is located at 175 Main St. in Northampton. Redstone is a property-management and development company based in Burlington, Vt., that has been investing in properties for nearly 30 years, with a particular focus on commercial real estate, multi-family housing, and student housing throughout New England. The acquisition of 175 Main St. represents Redstone’s affinity for the former Faces building and Northampton’s strong downtown area, said Joe Engelken, senior vice president of Acquisition & Development for the company. “Redstone is delighted to have the opportunity to acquire a prominent piece of Northampton’s downtown and become a part of the community,” he said. “We are excited for the coming years and will strive to recreate the sense of destination that Faces once had.” Half the property has remained vacant since the iconic Faces store shut down in April 2019. TD Bank leases space at the building across from Thornes Marketplace. The sale of the property was handled by Mitch Bolotin and Jack Dill of Colebrook. “The Faces building is an important landmark for Northampton’s Main Street,” Bolotin said, “and Redstone is the right development group to manage the property growing forward.”

 

Bay Path University Joins U.S. Collegiate Athletic Assoc.

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University announced its membership confirmation to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA). The university will sponsor Division I volleyball, soccer, and softball teams in the 2021-22 academic year as members of the USCAA. “This is an exciting time for Bay Path athletics and our student-athletes. Moving from the NCAA to the USCAA provides us with the opportunity to compete at both the regional and national level in new ways,” said Joel Wincowski, vice president for Enrollment Management, Marketing, and Athletics. “In addition, participating at the Division I level enables us to now offer athletic scholarships, which are very attractive to student-athletes and their families when making decisions of where to study and play.” The USCAA’s focus is to enhance member institutions through athletics by providing opportunities for small colleges to compete on an equal level of competition with schools of like size and athletic programs. The USCAA conducts 15 national championships, names All-Americans, recognizes scholar-athletes, and promotes USCAA member schools through various means.

 

Balanced Birch Studio Coming to the Mill District

AMHERST — Balanced Birch Studio — a budding small business that provides experienced, individualized instruction in classical Pilates and Gyrotonic exercise — announced it is joining the diverse community at the Mill District in North Amherst this summer. Located at 77 Cowls Road in North Square, the studio is kitty corner to the Mill District General Store and Hannah’s Local Art Gallery, and across the green from Provisions. Balanced Birch Studio is unique in its approach to individualized personal training for people from all walks of life. From dancers and athletes to the injured and elderly, it offers boutique physical instruction to better a person’s quality of movement, posture, and lifestyle. The studio’s founder, Mary Ellen Liacos, is a certified USPA Authentic Pilates and Gyrotonic method instructor with more than 10 years of teaching experience. She has worked with students of all levels and abilities, specializing in youth and geriatric instruction. She has extensive experience training athletes, particularly pre-professional figure skaters and dancers. She has deep knowledge coaching clients with ALS, Parkinson’s disease, and those who are postpartum or returning from surgical rehab. She incorporates her training as a professional dancer with her Pilates and Gyrotonic practice, integrating these methods through instruction at Balanced Birch Studio. In addition to private, semi-private, and Pilates mat sessions, Balanced Birch also offers several master-class options for the community to partake in throughout the year. Master classes will include Integrative Life Coaching, Self-Massage, Gyrokinesis, Alexander Technique, and more.

 

JA of Western Massachusetts Raises $1,450 with Virtual 5K

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM) staged a Virtual 5K Run/Walk on June 11-14 to raise funds to support its literacy, entrepreneurship, and career-exploration programs. A total of 14 participants met the challenge and raised $1,450 for the cause. “The realities of the pandemic prompted us to hold this event virtually, but we are so grateful for the participants who still made the commitment to support us,” said Jennifer Connolly, president of JAWM. “Every bit helps, as our programs are offered at no cost to schools and youth groups. Our students need financial literacy and work-readiness programs to be prepared for their futures.” Participants paid a $25 entry fee and were encouraged to walk, run, or bike with friends and family and solicit donations through their own fundraising pages. Safety Restore of Westfield was the event’s medal sponsor, and Country Bank was the certificate sponsor.

 

UMassFive Donates Personal-care Items to Survival Centers

HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union collected 350 pounds of personal-care items during the month of May and donated them to the pantries of the Amherst Survival Center and Northampton Survival Center. Donations were collected at the credit union’s Hadley and Northampton branch locations, and included incontinence products, toilet paper, diapers, menstrual products, soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, sunblock, and many other personal-care items. “We’re so appreciative of our members and employees for donating personal-care items to our annual drive,” said Cait Murray, Community Outreach manager at UMassFive. “We know that personal-care items in the Survival Center pantries may help people avoid making difficult tradeoffs. Nobody should have to choose between food and toilet paper.”

 

Mary Ann’s Dance and More Announces Relocation

EASTHAMPTON — Mary Ann’s Dance and More, a local dance-apparel store, is relocating to make room for a pre-professional conservatory in its current location. The studio will now be located at 163B Northampton St. in Easthampton. Opened since 2007, Mary Ann’s Dance and More offers customers dance supplies, including apparel and accessories, as well as novelty and gift items. An active business in the community, Mary Ann’s Dance and More is recognized as a consistent sponsor of various local organizations. It has also been featured in the national dance retailer magazine Dance Retailer News as a “Retailer Spotlight,” twice on Mass Appeal on WWLP-22News, and in “Lifestyle/Balance Act” in Retail Minded.

 

Visiting Angels of West Springfield Shows Appreciation to Caregivers

WEST SPRINGFIELD — The week of June 14-21 was National Nursing Assistant Week, and Visiting Angels of West Springfield showed its appreciation to all its caregivers for their hard work and dedication with a socially distanced drive-by at the Visiting Angels office with treats and goodies. When a caregiver drove up to the table, the Visiting Angels administrative team presented them with a gift, a choice of treats, and a refreshing beverage. The goodie bags included tea bags, caramel candies, Visiting Angels party favors and tokens, and aromatherapy products for relaxation after a long day of work. Visiting Angels of West Springfield is welcoming new caregivers to its team. Caregivers interested in joining the team can call (413) 733-6900. Visiting Angels offers benefits and flexible schedules designed to adapt to each employee’s specific needs. The home-healthcare service offers senior in-home care, elderly care, and care for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in towns across the Pioneer Valley and the Greater Springfield area, including Springfield, West Springfield, Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, Wilbraham, Agawam, Ludlow, Westfield, Southwick, Chicopee, Holyoke, Southampton, and Montgomery.

Company Notebook

Wellfleet Acquires National Guardian’s Student and Special Risk Business

SPRINGFIELD — Wellfleet, an insurance provider and a Berkshire Hathaway company, has agreed to terms with National Guardian Life Insurance Co. (NGL) to acquire through renewals its Student and Special Risk business. Much of that business is processed through Commercial Travelers Life Insurance Co. in Utica, N.Y., a wholly owned NGL subsidiary. Wellfleet will immediately assume responsibility for administrating NGL’s special-risk policies and collegiate accident and health insurance, which insures more than 26,000 students on approximately 100 campuses across the U.S. Wellfleet will maintain NGL’s Utica office, employing more than 30 insurance professionals. Completion of the transaction is subject to various conditions, including the receipt of required regulatory approval, and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019.

Elms College Announces 100% Hire Rate for Education Graduates

CHICOPEE — Elms College announced that all of its class of 2019 education licensure graduates — both undergraduate and graduate — have successfully landed jobs as teachers in their licensure fields or are pursuing advanced degrees. This is the sixth year in a row that the Elms College Education Division has reported a 100% hire rate for its graduates. Elms College allows education majors to specialize in elementary, early childhood, English as a second language, moderate special needs, or secondary education. Graduate students can work toward a master of arts in teaching degree in a variety of fields, including reading specialist, a master of education degree, or a certificate of advanced graduate study (CAGS). The college’s programs offer real-world, student-centric, pedagogical training that prepares teachers to serve as leaders in the changing field of education.

UMass Amherst Welcomes Largest-ever Entering Class

AMHERST — UMass Amherst will welcome the largest entering class in university history when students return to the Commonwealth’s flagship campus over Labor Day weekend. The size of the entering class, approximately 5,800 students, represents an increase of 790 compared to last year. This includes 4,300 in-state students, an increase of 800 over last fall. Massachusetts students represent 74% of the first-year class. Out-of-state enrollment remained strong at 1,500, including 470 international students. The university received a record 42,110 applications. Overall undergraduate enrollment this fall is projected to be 22,700. The academic profile of the class of 2023 is impressive. The average SAT score is 1292, and the average GPA is 3.90. The class also represents an increase in the number of ALANA (African, Latino/Hispanic, Asian, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and Native American) students at 33%. The percentage of underrepresented minority students is 17%, matching last year’s number. Half of the incoming class is female. Commonwealth Honors College will welcome 660 students, up 35 students over last year. Their average SAT score is 1400. Along with the first-year class, nearly 1,050 transfer students will be arriving on campus this fall. The transfers include 380 community-college students enrolling through the MassTransfer program. MassTransfer guarantees admission to Massachusetts community-college students who complete a designated program with a GPA of 2.5 or above. The overall GPA for entering transfer students is 3.40.

Eversource Honored for Encouraging, Empowering Employees in the Military

BOSTON — Eversource Energy has been recognized with the nation’s highest honor recognizing support of employees in the military. Eversource was one of 15 companies selected from 2,500 nominations to receive the 2019 Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. Eversource Chairman, President, and CEO Jim Judge and control-room supervisor Bill Gelinas accepted the Freedom Award at a ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Eversource’s recruitment and military reserve policies make it one of the nation’s leading companies for veterans and other service members. Of Eversource’s 8,000 employees, more than 600 have served in the military. The energy company offers advancement programs that provide opportunities to apply military training in a supervisory level position. In addition, the Eversource Veterans Assoc., made up of employees who served their country, provides support and recognition to current veteran employees and raises funds to support military veterans throughout New England.

STCC, Bay Path University Announce Psychology Transfer Agreements

SPRINGFIELD — Officials from Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and Bay Path University will sign two agreements today at 1 p.m. creating an affordable pathway for female students with an associate degree from STCC to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bay Path. Under one articulation agreement, students who receive an associate degree in liberal arts/general studies (applied psychology option) can pursue a bachelor of arts in psychology from Bay Path. Under the second agreement, students who receive an associate degree in liberal arts transfer (human services/social work option) can pursue a bachelor of arts in psychology. Bay Path and STCC recognize that, for many students, the path to a bachelor’s degree may begin at a community college. Moreover, for STCC’s female students, diverse educational opportunities, including the advantages of enrolling in a women’s university to earn a bachelor’s degree, adds value to educational experiences. These agreements acknowledge that significance and are formed to enable the smooth transfer of STCC graduates to either the traditional undergraduate program or the American Women’s College of Bay Path University.

STCC Gateway to College Program Earns Recognition

SPRINGFIELD — The Gateway to College program at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) received a Program Excellence Award in recognition of exceeding all four benchmarks used to assess the performance of Gateway to College programs nationwide. Through Gateway to College, students who have dropped out of high school or who are significantly off track complete their high-school diplomas in college-based programs while simultaneously earning credits toward a post-secondary credential. STCC has hosted a Gateway to College program since 2013, and the program enrolled 67 students during the academic year when it received the award. In 2017 and 2018, the STCC Gateway to College program was recognized with a Graduation Achievement Award. This marks its first Program Excellence Award and represents one of only 11 such awards given to Gateway to College programs nationally. At the Gateway to College Directors Convening in New Haven, Conn. at the end of July, Achieving the Dream President Karen Stout and Executive Vice President Emily Froimson presented the award to STCC Gateway Program Director Katara Robinson.

Kresge Foundation Awards $100,000 to Public Health Institute of Western Mass.

SPRINGFIELD — The Kresge Foundation awarded the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts a $100,000 grant to advance policy solutions aimed at improving climate resilience and equitably reducing health risks in low-income communities. The Springfield Climate Justice Initiative, a new project of the Live Well Springfield coalition convened by the Public Health Institute, is one of 15 community-based collaborations nationwide receiving grant funding as part of the planning phase of Kresge’s Climate Change, Health and Equity initiative. The Springfield Climate Justice Initiative will focus on planning and implementing strategies identified in the 2017 “Strong, Healthy, & Just: Springfield Climate Action & Resilience Plan” for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and improving climate resilience in Springfield. The planning will focus on developing front-line residents’ capacity to accelerate municipal action on the top greenhouse-gas emissions reduction strategies included in the Climate Action Plan. With this funding, the collaborators who worked together to develop the city’s “Strong, Healthy & Just” plan — the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Arise for Social Justice, and the city of Springfield — will work with partners from other sectors to develop multi-year work plans to address community-defined health and climate priorities.

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