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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) named Christopher Thuot vice president for Academic Affairs.

Following a comprehensive national search, Thuot assumed the role on July 17. As the chief academic officer, he provides leadership for implementation of the college’s academic mission and priorities. He plays a key role in supporting the alignment of academic programs with the region’s employment needs while helping develop and sustain partnerships with transfer institutions, local schools, and government agencies.

“Dr. Thuot brings to STCC a unique set of skills, a strategic outlook, and over a decade of community-college experience,” said John Cook, STCC president. “Chris began as a community-college student and deeply understands the transformative mission we so value at STCC.”

Thuot comes to STCC from Onondaga Community College (OCC) in Syracuse, N.Y., one of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system. He served as assistant provost, providing academic leadership to eight schools, adult college programs, and the Office of Registration and Records. He helped lead development of all new degree programs, led a comprehensive program revitalization process, and served as OCC’s accreditation liaison officer. He served as project director on a number of grants.

Thuot began his career at OCC as a full-time faculty member while serving as the Honors College chair, vice president of the Faculty Senate, and coordinator of General Education.

Thuot noted the dedication of STCC’s faculty and staff and their focus on student success, and he expressed his gratitude to Cook and the search committee. “I am truly thrilled to now be a part of the STCC community. I look forward to working collaboratively to serve our students while meeting STCC’s mission.”

Thuot was first introduced to community colleges as a student at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, N.C. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina Asheville and a Ph.D. in political science at Northern Illinois University.


Strong Foundation

Professors Warren Hall and Jennifer DeForge

Professors Warren Hall and Jennifer DeForge of the Architecture and Building Technology program at STCC.

Warren Hall calls April 23, 2013 — the day the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education approved architecture and building technology as a two-year associate-degree program at Springfield Technical Community College — “a great day.”

“We were approved after a seven-year process,” said Hall, a professor in the program at STCC. “Creating programs is something I love to do. I like to figure it out and find out how to get people through the door.”

As of commencement this past May, the degree program boasts more than 200 graduates who hail from the Greater Springfield region and beyond. Students enroll in the program — the only one of its kind in Western Mass. — to acquire skills that prepare them for careers in architectural design and construction-related fields. Some students can start their careers after graduating from STCC, while many transfer to four-year colleges and universities.

STCC has agreements with UMass Amherst and other state colleges and universities that provide for a smooth transition into a bachelor’s degree program.

The program drew interest from Nathalia Hermida, who was living in Colombia in 2013 and considering colleges in the U.S.

“I always wanted to go for architecture,” she said. “I started looking for universities with my mom. She found out about a program at UMass Amherst, but the cost was too high for us, especially coming from Colombia. So, lucky for us, we found out that STCC had a program that would transfer into UMass’s architecture program. We looked into that. As a community college, it seemed like a really good program and was more affordable for us, so we decided to go with it.”

She earned her degree from STCC in 2016 before transferring to UMass and earning a bachelor’s degree in sustainable community development. Today, Hermida works at Uncommon Architectural Places, founded by Alfonso Nardi, an adjunct professor in the STCC architecture program.

“I’m lucky enough to share my design and building experience with them and watch them move onto some incredible positions in the building industry and continuing their education in architecture and building technology.”

In addition to professors Nardi and Hall, the program’s faculty includes Jennifer DeForge, now the program coordinator, who graduated from STCC in 2009 with an associate degree in civil engineering technology and is working on her second master’s degree.

“Working in the architecture and building technology program has been one of the best career decisions I could have made,” DeForge said. “Every day, I work with our students and fellow colleagues, who are some of the most driven individuals I have met, and I’m lucky enough to share my design and building experience with them and watch them move onto some incredible positions in the building industry and continuing their education in architecture and building technology.”

Hermida plans to pursue her architecture license and a master’s degree. STCC provided a solid foundation for her continuing education, she said. “I was really impressed about how complete the program was. They packed a lot into two years.”

The program has drawn other international students. Obed Otabil and Asra Afzaal both graduated in 2018. Otabil hails from Ghana, while Afzaal grew up in Pakistan.

Otabil attended UMass to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He is taking time off to raise a child, but hopes to work at an architectural firm and own his own firm one day.

“All the training I received from Springfield Tech was very helpful,” Otabil said. “Having the basic knowledge about architecture actually helped me sail through the undergrad program pretty smoothly.”

Afzaal left Pakistan to pursue educational opportunities in the U.S. She entered the U.S. educational system as an 11th-grader in high school and then found the STCC architecture and building technology program. Like Otabil, Afzaal went to UMass and received her bachelor’s degree in building and construction technology. In March 2023, she moved to Texas to work for an architecture, planning, and design firm as the space planner and project planner.

“STCC was the base, the foundation. And then on top of it, I laid the layers,” she said. “My basics were so strong that I was able to build on it and learn more and more. And I am so grateful that I was in the architecture program at STCC.”

Michael Caine, a 2016 graduate of the architecture and building technology program, later earned his master of architecture professional degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from UMass Amherst.

Today, he lives in Philadelphia and works as a lead conceptual designer for an architectural firm that focuses on multi-family residential projects. He describes his conceptual work as “the dream job of architecture.”

Caine enrolled at STCC in part because the college is the most affordable in Springfield. He didn’t know what he would major in when he started, but later discovered the architecture and building technology program was a good fit.

“It is really unique to have an architecture department at a community college,” he said. “Having the exposure to architecture at such an early stage in an academic career of higher ed is really beneficial. It allows that barrier of entry to really be demolished.

“It was really beneficial for me to get the exposure and the breadth of knowledge to be career-ready at such an early stage. For me, that was really beneficial. After my first semester at STCC, I was able to win an internship, and from there, just learning both the technical side at school, but also the practical side during work while going to school, was the one-two punch.”

Caine said he is proud to call himself a graduate of STCC’s 10-year-old architecture and building technology program, and he recommends it to anyone interested in a career in building construction or design.

“It’s a super-unique program,” he said. “The way that professors Warren Hall, Jennifer DeForge, and Al Nardi have shaped it over the years is really something special. When I transferred to UMass, I had all these skills they weren’t even teaching over there until later down the road.”


Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and the MassHire workforce system have partnered to offer no-cost training that can open the door to a career in advanced manufacturing.

Funded by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the training begins Sept. 11 at STCC. Participants will learn to operate CNC (computer numerical control) machinery in the state-of-the-art lab at Springfield Technology Park. The training, which runs through Dec. 19, is open to those who are unemployed or underemployed (working part-time or making less than $17 per hour). Classes are scheduled Mondays through Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m.

Participants must be 18 or older and have a high-school diploma, GED, or HiSET completion, among other requirements. Two-week prerequisite training is required before starting the program. For more information, including full applicant training requirements, visit stcc.io/cnc.

“This no-cost training program provides an excellent opportunity to learn the fundamentals to begin a career pathway that can lead to becoming a CNC machinist or toolmaker,” said Larry Martin, director of Labor Market Research and Business Services for the Hampden County Workforce Board.

Gladys Franco, assistant vice president for Workforce Development at STCC, added that “we are excited to partner with MassHire to help people get trained for in-demand jobs with competitive wages and benefits. The CNC training will help people get a foot in the door. Springfield-area advanced manufacturing businesses have positions available, but they often tell us they need us to help candidates learn the skills required to get hired.”

Participants will train on CNC machines used in manufacturing and also in STCC academic programs. STCC offers a two-year associate degree program in mechanical engineering technology and a one-year certificate in CNC operations.

STCC faculty will teach the classes offered at no cost this fall. Trainees will learn blueprint reading, shop math, precision-measuring tools, and how to operate CNC machinery.

“This is a terrific opportunity for people who are unemployed or underemployed because the labor pool is dry right now,” said Thomas Minor, a professor and coordinator of the MET program. “The MET program has more job opportunities than we are able to fill with our day and night students. These aren’t just jobs; they are high-paying careers with benefits and upward mobility.”

Upon completion of the 15-week training, participants must actively seek full-time employment. Participants might consider enrolling in an STCC program while working, Minor said. “Some of our students work full-time while pursuing a degree or certificate. We offer flexibility in our programs to help them succeed.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and Western New England University (WNE) continue to work together to offer access from a two-year degree to baccalaureate and graduate education.

According to a renewed joint admissions agreement signed by leadership of the two institutions on June 13, students enrolled at STCC will continue to have an opportunity to transfer to Western New England upon completion of their two-year associate-degree program.

The joint admissions program is open to students who are enrolled in an STCC program that meets requirements for transfer to WNE. The programs listed on the Western New England website include biology, business, chemistry, computer science, criminal justice, cybersecurity, engineering, mathematics, and programmer.

Students applying to STCC will be informed about the opportunity to participate in the joint admissions program. As part of a structured plan, students must maintain minimum grade point averages to gain admissions to Western New England through the program.

Under terms of the program, STCC and WNE will support advisement of participating students. While enrolled at STCC, students will have access to a Western New England representative. The agreement runs for five years.

“We are thrilled to renew and strengthen our partnership with Western New England University,” STCC President John Cook said. “This is an important partnership between a public and private institution that greatly benefits our students.”

According to Kiyota Garcia, dean of Student Initiatives at STCC, “this gives our students a wonderful opportunity to transfer seamlessly from a public community college into a private university. The joint admissions program creates an affordable pathway to a bachelor’s and graduate degree in a variety of academic programs.”

Maria Toyoda, WNE’s provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, added that “Western New England University is pleased to partner with Springfield Technical Community College, the only technical community college in the state, on this joint articulation agreement. Providing numerous avenues to educational opportunities is of great importance to WNE as we strive to meet students where they are. With this partnership, students have another way to make their educational aspirations become a reality.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will offer a free computer and digital-literacy course in July for anyone looking to develop or enhance critical skills needed to compete in the workforce.

The eight-week program, which starts July 10, offers an opportunity for adults in the community to increase their digital skills with computers, online learning, and keyboarding that is often needed for employment, college, or training programs.

Hampden Prep, a program of the Springfield Adult Learning Center at STCC, provides intensive digital and computer-use skills and certificate training that align to employment and career pathways. Participants can attend on-campus and online sessions and choose between day and evening classes.

The program offers an opportunity to learn how to use a computer and improve typing and online navigation skills; develop skills with Google Workspace and Microsoft Office; explore careers and develop job-readiness skills; build a résumé, write a cover letter, prepare for interviews, and apply for jobs; and earn free certificates such as OSHA 10, Customer Service Gold, Food Handler, ServSafe for Managers, and others through workforce-development training.

To register for the class and find more information, visit stcc.io/computer. Learn more about the Springfield Adult Learning Center by visiting stcc.edu/salc.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will offer two healthcare courses, emergency medical technician (EMT) and phlebotomy certification, starting in June.

The EMT course, which begins Tuesday, June 6, is open to anyone 18 and older, while the phlebotomy course, starting Tuesday, June 20, is for people working in approved healthcare worker roles.

The EMT course, which runs June 6 through Aug. 19, covers all medical concepts and techniques used to provide emergency care in pre-hospital settings. The program teaches skills such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillation, among other EMT skills. On-campus labs are Tuesday from 8 a.m. to noon.

The class is a mixture of online and in-person work. For more information and to register, visit stcc.io/emt.

The phlebotomy for healthcare workers class, open to anyone licensed in various medical fields, runs June 20 through July 11. Class hours are 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and labs for the course will be held in-person on the STCC campus.

The non-credit course, offered through the Workforce Development Center at STCC, prepares students to take the exam to become a certified phlebotomist in Massachusetts. The class is designed to teach workers in certified healthcare positions to draw blood for diagnostic procedures.

Anyone interested in taking the class should have a current healthcare certification in at least one of the following healthcare roles (those with certification in other healthcare fields not listed may be eligible):

certified nursing assistant (CNA), emergency medical technician (EMT), patient care technician (PCT), certified medical assistant (CMA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), certified electrocardiogram technician (CET), or certified dental assistant (CDA).

Certified phlebotomists can work in emergency rooms, clinics, doctor’s offices, and bloodmobiles, among other healthcare venues. The fee for the class includes the National Healthcare Assoc. Exam.

To enroll online and learn more about this course, visit www.stcc.edu/wdc/healthcare and click the ‘phlebotomy certification for healthcare workers’ link.

For more information, contact the Workforce Development Center at (413) 755-4225 or [email protected].

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and Elms College are partnering to create an affordable and seamless pathway for students to transfer into the biology program at elms.

Students who earn their associate degree in engineering and physical science transfer (biology transfer) from STCC can enroll at Elms as a biology major to seek a bachelor’s degree, according to the terms of an articulation agreement.

The collaboration between the two institutions allows students who earn their bachelor’s degree and meet GPA requirements to enroll in the master’s-degree program.

In recent years, STCC and Elms, with a campus in Chicopee, have worked together to offer several other program-transfer agreements, including pathways for computer-related majors, social work, graphic design, health information technology, medical coding and billing, and nursing.

In a ceremony on May 2, STCC President John Cook and Elms President Harry Dumay formally signed an agreement that eases the coursework transfer between the two colleges for students seeking degrees in biology.

Students who earn their associate degree from STCC in biology transfer will enter Elms as third-year students with at least 60 transfer credits. Elms will accept 75 credits from STCC. Students need to earn 120 credits to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Full-time students could complete their bachelor’s degree in two years at Elms.

The STCC-Elms program includes a combination of online courses and some on-campus, low-residency lab-course experiences.

“We are thankful again to collaborate with Elms and offer an affordable pathway to a biology degree,” Cook said. “Students will gain skills that open the door to many employment opportunities, including careers in the medical and pharmaceutical fields.”

Dumay added that “we are delighted to partner with Springfield Technical Community College once again and offer STCC engineering and science transfer students a pathway to complete their education at Elms. With this agreement, we hope to increase the number of skilled workers employed in the life sciences in Western Massachusetts.”

STCC Vice President of Academic Affairs Geraldine de Berly noted that “this is an exciting opportunity for our students interested in the life sciences. This new transfer pathway applies to students who are full-time or part-time, which is an important feature for students who need flexibility, and strengthens our partnership with Elms.”

Walter Breau, vice president of Academic Affairs at Elms, added that “Elms College and STCC have a long history of educating students in the Pioneer Valley, and we are excited that this partnership can provide STEM students at STCC with easy access to complete their bachelor’s degree at Elms.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) and Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) continue to work together for the benefit of Springfield residents, this time to address the housing needs of STCC students.

A new agreement between the two colleges will allow STCC students to reside in the AIC campus residence halls and apartments, located less than two miles away. AIC President Hubert Benitez and STCC President John Cook will take part in a signing ceremony for the student housing agreement today, May 3, at 11:30 a.m., in the lobby of the Esther B. Griswold Theatre in the Karen Sprague Cultural Arts Center at AIC.

This partnership further strengthens the bond between the institutions, which renewed an articulation agreement last year to facilitate the seamless transition of STCC graduates and qualified candidates to AIC.

Under the terms of the housing agreement, AIC will provide affordable housing options for STCC students age 18 and older who are enrolled full-time and are in good academic standing. STCC students residing at AIC will also have access to the college’s health and counseling services, library, laundry facilities, gym, and other support services. Dining and parking plans will be available for an additional cost.

According Benitez, “this is an important partnership between a private and a public college to assist Springfield students in overcoming barriers to higher education that may be limited by several factors, including accessible and affordable housing. The signing of this housing agreement is designed to provide pipelines to higher education and immersive college experiences that open doors for young adults in our community.”

This option will help many students in the Greater Springfield area who require secure housing, allowing them to attend STCC full-time, according to Cook.

“This is true ecosystem work for two colleges closely connected by way of State Street,” he noted. “Given the housing needs of community-college students now, and the opportunity to preview baccalaureate pathways down the road, we are thrilled to see the realization of this effort.”

Cook added that the agreement will also benefit out-of-town students looking to attend STCC because of its unique programs such as dental hygiene, sonography, energy systems, and manufacturing/CNC.

“We are thrilled about our partnership with AIC to offer students a traditional residential experience while pursuing their degree at STCC,” said Darcey Kemp, vice president of Student Affairs at STCC. “Students who live on college campuses often find it easier to engage in campus events and take advantage of the amenities, support, and services provided. We look forward to offering this option to our students.”

AIC Vice President for Student Affairs Matthew Scott conveyed his pleasure in partnering with STCC to provide on-campus housing to its students. “In line with AIC’s mission, this collaboration allows us to expand access to affordable education and support services for students. We look forward to welcoming STCC students to our campus community and hope this initiative will create new pathways and opportunities for students.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Amy H. Carberry Fine Arts Gallery at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) presents the Spring Student Fine Arts Exhibition, on view through May 10. Also open concurrently, and celebrating a 10-year anniversary, is the Camera Obscura Room.

Each semester, the Fine Arts program faculty at STCC select work to showcase their students’ finest work. From colorful paintings to intricate woodblock prints; charcoal drawings and 3D sculptures to traditional gelatin silver photographs; and many other design projects, all artwork represents the culmination of a semester’s work.

“This show is not just a representation of art majors,” said Sondra Peron, associate professor and art gallery coordinator. “To the contrary, regardless of major or career goals, most fine arts courses do not require any prerequisite, and no art experience is required to register for a fine arts course.”

Students said they were proud to display their art on the walls of the gallery at STCC. “I worked really diligently on trying to express my artistic style in each piece in the student art exhibition at the Carberry Gallery,” said Enaya Ogletree, STCC fine arts major and gallery work-study student. The whimsical elements of nature and bold colors speak to my personality and creative style.”

First conceived and built in 2013 with analog-photography students in the former gallery office, the Camera Obscura Room offers a unique viewing experience. The laws of optics dictate that light travels in straight lines, and when light reflects off objects outside a darkened room, some of those rays of light travel through a small hole or aperture in a window and reform on the opposite wall, upside down. The Camera Obscura Room at STCC is open to the public when exhibitions are on view.

The Fine Arts Gallery and Camera Obscura Room, located on the campus of STCC in B28, are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parking is available in K Lot. Use the Pearl Street gate for easy access. The gallery and all events are free and open to the public.

40 Under 40 Class of 2023

Program Chair, Early Childhood Education, Springfield Technical Community College: Age 39

Aimee Dalenta

Aimee Dalenta

Aimee Dalenta has dedicated her life’s work to enriching people through education.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College and a master’s from Western New England University, Dalenta taught fifth grade in Longmeadow. After marriage and having her first two children close together, she left the workforce for a short time. Her first re-entry was running a small childcare center in East Longmeadow. Shortly after that, Springfield College offered Dalenta an instructor’s position in its Education Department.

“So I went from working with little kids to big kids,” she said.

In her current role at Springfield Technical Community College, Dalenta’s students range from those just out of high school to older adults seeking a career change. “Students in the course can be in their 50s and 60s, and they will collaborate with a 21-year old,” she noted. “They learn from each other, and I’m learning from them. It’s a cool environment.”

Dalenta ranks her proudest professional moments as earning her doctorate and how well she has navigated through the starts and stops along the way.

“I will never regret leaving the workforce to become a mom, but it was one of the scariest decisions I’ve ever made,” she said. “Then, re-entering and navigating my way after not working for five years was terrifying.”

While she enjoyed her time at Springfield College as an instructor, she knew she would need a doctorate to remain in higher education. She enrolled at American International College for its doctoral program even though her youngest child was a toddler.

“It was four grueling years to earn the doctorate, but it was a labor of love,” she said, adding that she is grateful for all the support her family gave her.

She also found inspiration from Pat Summit, the late, legendary women’s basketball coach for the University of Tennessee, who coached her players: “left foot, right foot, breathe, repeat.”

“It’s a simple mantra that helped me get through my doctoral work,” Dalenta said. “I only need to do the thing in front of me. I still use it to center myself when things get difficult.”

While proud of her role as program chair and professor, Dalenta still considers herself a teacher. “I’m inspired by my students as they persevere through life’s challenges. Teaching has always been there to ground me and help me to grow as a professional and as a person.”


—Mark Morris

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will offer a free nine-week course to prepare for the job of para-educator in the Springfield Public Schools.

The para-educator, also known as a teacher assistant, works with teachers and other school staff to provide instructional assistance and classroom support and implement effective classroom strategies to meet the needs of all students.

The in-person course runs April 24 to June 22 from 5:45 to 8:45 p.m. The registration deadline is April 21. Click here to register via instant enrollment. To enroll in person, visit Building 27, second floor, at STCC, or call (413) 755-4225. For more information, email [email protected].

“We are excited to offer this program through the Educators’ Academy free of charge to help people get started on the path to a degree from STCC and a career as an educator,” said Gladys Franco, assistant vice president for Workforce Development at STCC. “Sign up now, as space is limited.”

Participants will receive bilingual instruction in digital and computer literacy, job-readiness skills for educators, and test preparation to obtain the American College Testing WorkKeys Proficiency Certificate.

Para-educators who successfully complete the course through the Educators’ Academy program may earn credits transferable toward an associate degree at STCC. Para-educators are encouraged to continue their education to develop their professional skills toward employment as a classroom teacher through STCC’s early childhood, elementary, and secondary transfer programs.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) is celebrating Women’s History Month with speaker Dorothy Roberts, an author, law professor, and social-justice advocate who will present on race-based medicine.

Roberts will speak on Thursday, March 30 from 11 a.m. to noon in the Scibelli Hall Theater in Building 2. The event is free and open to the public. STCC has been highlighting Women’s History Month with speakers and other events on campus during March.

An in-demand speaker, Roberts’ TED talk on race-based medicine drew more than 1.5 million views. Her new book, Torn Apart, examines racism and the child welfare system in the U.S. She will discuss issues raised in her 1997 book Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty.

The STEM Center at STCC, which offers services and academic support for all students taking STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) classes, is presenting the event.

“We are excited to host Dorothy Roberts at STCC. Hearing the incredibly powerful words of Dorothy Roberts in person is an opportunity you won’t want to miss,” said Marlene Johnson, Title V STEM grant project director and STEM Center director.

Roberts is the 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor and George A. Weiss University Professor of Law & Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2022, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

She has joint appointments in Penn’s departments of Africana Studies and Sociology and the Law School, where she is the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights. She is also the founding director of the Penn Program on Race, Science, and Society.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will hold an in-person open house to showcase programs, services, and more today, March 23, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in the Student Learning Commons (Building 19).

The open house, which was held virtually during the pandemic, returned in person last fall and once again will be held on campus.

“We are excited about the upcoming open house and meeting with prospective students face-to-face to show them all that the college has to offer,” said Samantha Plourd, dean of Enrollment, Retention and Completion at STCC.

Enrollment for the spring semester was up about 5% compared to spring 2022. The Spring 2 term, which begins March 21, is seeing an enrollment uptick of about 13% as of the beginning of March.

“Our enrollment numbers are strengthening as we are coming out of the pandemic,” Plourd said. “Students choose STCC for our high-quality programs that range from technical and healthcare to liberal arts and business. We are the most affordable college in Springfield and provide opportunities to transfer to continue your educational journey.”

STCC also offers academic and non-academic support services, including advising, tutoring, programs for first-generation college students, and more.

Open to the public, STCC’s open house will showcase academic programs, support services, athletics, and more. The event is an ideal opportunity for high-school students and adult learners to learn more about what the college has to offer, including associate-degree and certificate programs, transfer opportunities and academic advising, financial aid, online learning, support services, the Workforce Development Center, and the Springfield Adult Learning Center.

Family and friends are welcome to attend. Representatives from programs and departments will be available to speak with attendees. Campus tours will also be available.

For more information and to pre-register, visit stcc.edu/openhouse. Contact the STCC Admissions Office at (413) 755-3333 or [email protected] with questions. For directions to the Student Learning Commons (Building 19), visit stcc.edu/about-stcc/campus-map-and-directions.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Community College National Legislative Summit offered Springfield Technical Community College President John Cook and STCC trustees an opportunity to speak with lawmakers about federal priorities, including reducing barriers to receive Pell Grants that help low-income students access higher education.

Cook went to the summit, which is the premier community-college advocacy event in Washington, D.C., with STCC trustees Jynai McDonald and Tonia Butler Perez on Feb. 5-8. Massachusetts featured a delegation of close to 40 people, including other community-college presidents and trustees as well as staff from the Massachusetts Assoc. of Community Colleges.

“The summit provided a great opportunity for those of us leading community colleges to learn more about federal policy issues and discuss the priorities of our institutions,” Cook said. “I appreciated meeting face-to-face with the decision makers in Washington, including Congressman Richard E. Neal, who has been a longtime supporter of STCC.”

STCC, the only technical community college in Massachusetts, serves a diverse student population who seek degrees and certificates in manufacturing, STEM, healthcare, business, social services, and the liberal arts. STCC, which is the most affordable college in Springfield, is a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution and offers a variety of non-credit workforce-development programs.

Cook and trustees met with Neal and several Massachusetts legislators. They discussed federal priorities, including tax-free Pell grants, as well as establishing Pell Grants for short-term programs that Cook said would greatly benefit STCC students.

Pell Grants enable millions of low-income community college students to pay tuition and fees and meet other college expenses and are the foundation of all other student aid. Increasing the maximum award promotes affordability and student success for low-income students, while reducing their need to borrow.

“STCC students have had to overcome so many barriers to make sure they are able to maintain their enrollment,” McDonald said. “We ought not add an additional barrier to funding their education by taxing the Pell grant and giving them less resources towards achieving academic success.”

She commented on the importance of expanding the Pell Grant to short-term programs. “In order to strengthen our workforce, we must remove the financial barriers for students. Expansion on the short-term Pell grant means that more STCC students get increased access to programs, which means increased access to career opportunities and self-sufficiency for them and their families.”

Cook noted that more than half of STCC’s students receive Pell Grants. “We hope to see these grants expanded to short-term workforce-development programs to reduce barriers and provide a more accessible pathway to higher wages and stable careers. This is one of the priorities we discussed with legislators, including Congressman Neal.”

In addition to focusing on priorities, the summit provided professional development opportunities for trustees of community colleges.

“This is my first time ever going, and I really thought it was one of the best summits I’ve ever been to,” said Butler Perez, who joined STCC as a trustee in August 2022. “It was called the New Trustee Academy, and it was the best thing a trustee, and even a president, could have gone to. Trustees and presidents from other colleges were there, and they had some of the same problems we have. It was a good conglomeration of different people from different areas.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) was recently awarded state grants to enhance a nursing partnership with Westfield State University and to start a STEM Tech Career Academy for high-school students at West Springfield High School and Veritas Prep Charter School.

The Workforce Skills Cabinet — an alignment of state executive offices — awarded STCC a two-year, $600,000 Nursing Pathways Grant. The state funding will help STCC and Westfield State further develop synergies and clarify student pathways for their respective programs. Nursing students can obtain their associate degree in nursing from STCC and continue virtually, or on the STCC campus, as they pursue their bachelor’s degree from Westfield State. As a result of the grant, STCC students will see a reduction in time and cost to achieve their BSN from Westfield State.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant from the Workforce Skills Cabinet,” said Lisa Fugiel, director of Nursing at STCC. “With this support, we can strengthen our tutoring and access services and career navigation to improve student retention.”

The Workforce Skills Cabinet also awarded a three-year, $1 million grant to start a STEM Tech Career Academy. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The $5 million announced in December for five new STEM Tech Career Academies across the state included one that partners STCC with West Springfield High School and Veritas Prep Charter School. The STEM Tech Career Academy focuses on healthcare, environmental and life sciences, and business and finance.

The partnership will leverage existing innovation pathways and includes Baystate Eye Care Group, Each Moment We’re Alive, Walgreens, and Springfield Thunderbirds Hockey Club as industry partners. The STEM Tech Career Academy grant will help expand early college programs specifically for STEM courses and will help students explore STEM career pathways.

STCC offers an innovation-pathway program for West Springfield High School students in their junior year. STCC’s work with Veritas includes students as early as ninth grade with the possibility of earning 60 college credits.

The STEM Tech Career Academy will provide work-based learning opportunities with paid internships and capstone projects to students, said Pamela Westmoreland, director of Early College Initiatives at STCC. The goal is to increase the number of students who earn associate degrees or certificates.

“This grant will help high-school students start early on their college pathway and save time and money,” Westmoreland noted. “They can earn college credits in the STEM Tech Career Academy and, after getting their high-school diploma, continue their education at STCC, which is the most affordable college in Springfield.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) received a $75,000 state grant to increase the faculty’s core equity competencies and knowledge about racial equity, social justice, and structures that have an impact on student success.

The Massachusetts Higher Education Innovation Fund grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education will support professional development for 20 faculty members. The goal of the project is to help underserved and underrepresented students — especially students of color — succeed along their academic journey, from applying to STCC to graduation.

Mary Wiseman, director of Instructional Innovation and Faculty Investment at STCC, said the funding will help advance the college’s mission to support students as they transform their lives. “I am very excited to gather faculty, lead them in training on techniques to increase their skills, and ultimately lift the equity agenda. We want to explore how to make classrooms inclusive spaces where students feel welcomed and connected to the faculty and curriculum.”

With the funding in hand, STCC plans to recruit faculty who will join a core coaching group known as Equity Leaders & Guides who will train in equity-minded practices. At the conclusion of their work, they will share their discoveries with STCC colleagues.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Geraldine de Berly said the initiative is critically important. “We are grateful to Governor Baker and his administration for supporting our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. This training will support our faculty who make such a difference in our students’ lives.”

The faculty will work together to discover new teaching techniques and will attend workshop training with the Collaborative for Educational Services in Northampton. In addition, they will engage in a virtual book club, among other tasks.

STCC, which has a technical focus in all its programs, is designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution. About 30% of the student body are Latino, Latina, or Latinx.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) received $1,174,200 in state funding to expand adult-education services after submitting for a competitive grant.

The Baker-Polito administration announced historic funding amounts to STCC and 73 other adult-education providers and seven correctional institutions in the state. The awards total $250 million over the next five years.

“We are thrilled and grateful to the Baker administration for this funding to expand our adult-education programs offered to the community,” STCC President John Cook said. “I appreciate the successful efforts by Assistant Vice President for Workforce Development Gladys Franco in submitting for this competitive grant. STCC’s funding was among the top 10 largest amounts awarded.”

Statewide, adult education services will expand to new programs not currently funded and provide 5,000 total seats for adult basic education students and more than 16,000 for adult English learners.

The Workforce Development Center at STCC provides free adult education through the Springfield Adult Learning Center. The community can take classes to further their education by obtaining a high-school equivalency certificate, which includes preparing for a GED or HiSET exam; developing computer, email, or internet skills; learning English as a second language; or enrolling as a student at STCC after earning a high-school equivalency certificate.

“We have been offering high-quality adult-education classes in Springfield for years, and this funding represents a big step forward in expanding programs,” Franco said. “I’m proud that the Springfield Adult Learning Center has transformed so many lives. Students have found fulfilling employment or have gone on to receive their degree from STCC to prepare for a career. Thank you to the Baker-Polito administration and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for supporting our efforts.”

STCC will receive funding for fiscal 2024, which starts July 1, 2023. Adult basic education is funded through a combination of state and federal funds, including the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Title II.

“This historic level of funding to adult-education service providers across the Commonwealth will open up additional seats for adult learners to gain knowledge and career skills,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “These grants will benefit not only residents, but employers and communities across the Commonwealth.”

The administration states that the funds will help eligible individuals obtain knowledge and skills necessary for employment and economic self-sufficiency; assist eligible individuals attain a secondary-school credential and transition to post-secondary education and training; assist immigrants and other individuals who are English learners; and help parents gain education and knowledge to become full partners in the educational development of their children.

“The goal is to foster collaborations within communities that enhance student success in higher education and employment,” Education Secretary James Peyser said. “We are very pleased to award this historic level of funding that ensures there are significant resources available to many more adult students across the Commonwealth for years to come.”

Anyone interested in applying for classes at the Springfield Adult Learning Center can visit stcc.edu/salc.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) received a $180,000 state grant to help students facing food insecurity. The Baker-Polito administration awarded the multi-year Hunger Free Campus Initiative grant award for FY 2023-24.

“We want to thank you for your commitment to increasing access to academic opportunities for students of color and students experiencing food insecurity,” Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito stated in a letter to STCC President John Cook. “Your commitment to transform higher-education institutional cultures to center equity-minded support services for students is commendable, particularly as the Commonwealth engages in post-COVID efforts to both retain and prepare our future workforce.”

The Hunger Free Campus Initiative, a grant program funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, is intended to support college students who are experiencing food insecurity to reduce barriers to success.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, the need to address hunger and food security has been exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increased inflation. The Hunger Free Campus Initiative makes funding available to campuses to increase their capacity to develop or improve upon food-security programming. In October, Cook was among the 15 Massachusetts community-college presidents who urged state legislators to support establishing the initiative into law.

The presidents wrote, “as we move beyond the pandemic, we have a shared commitment to ensure that our students are well-trained and ready to contribute to the workforce after graduation. But with the high cost of living in Massachusetts, including the increasing cost of food, many of our students find themselves without adequate access to food as they try to complete their education. We also know that food insecurity on many of our campuses disproportionately impacts Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ students. Our students should not have to choose between food and their textbooks or rent, nor can they learn successfully if their basic needs are not met.”

STCC, the only technical community college in Massachusetts, is a designated Hispanic Serving Institution. About 30% of the student body are Latino, Latina, or Latinx.

“We are thrilled and grateful to receive this grant from the Baker administration,” Cook said. “By directly targeting food insecurity, we are helping our most vulnerable students meet their basic needs, which helps them continue studying at STCC and moving closer to their goal of graduating.”

STCC is committed to supporting students both in and outside of the classroom. Located on the STCC campus, the Center for Access Services (CAS) provides students with a broad range of non-academic supports. CAS is dedicated to helping students overcome non-academic barriers impacting their ability to stay in school, with the goal of increasing self-sufficiency.

“This grant will strengthen our program and enhance our efforts to provide groceries and meals to students facing food insecurity,” said Jose Lopez-Figueroa, director of CAS.

The Center for Access Services offers food assistance to students in need of help as well as other supports to help them overcome challenges, which include but are not limited to financial challenges, homelessness, substance abuse, and access to various state and federal benefits. The center includes the RAM Mini Mart, which is a food pantry offering groceries, personal-hygiene products, and other basic household necessities.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) was awarded a $25,000 grant to provide mentorship and resources to Latina and low-income female students.

The funding from KPMG U.S. Foundation Inc. will support an STCC diversity program called Business Leaders Owning Opportunity Matters (BLOOM).

BLOOM Bridge empowers female-identifying Latinas from low-income households who may be interested in majoring in a business program, a business career, or transferring into a business program at a four-year college or university.

Grant funding from KPMG’s Reaching New Heights Program will be used to provide career exploration, peer mentoring, tutoring, academic support, and tuition for two one-credit business courses. Students will also gain access to career networking and mentoring advice from leaders in accounting, marketing, management, and entrepreneurship fields.

“We’re very pleased that the efforts of professor Rhoda Belemjian and Assistant Dean Emilie Clucas Leaderman in submitting for this competitive KPMG grant were successful and look forward to continued collaboration with KPMG,” said Geraldine de Berly, STCC’s vice president of Academic Affairs.

Richard Greco, dean of the School of Liberal and Professional Studies, added that “we are grateful to KPMG for supporting our efforts to remove barriers for underrepresented students. By removing the barrier of cost for underrepresented students, STCC seeks to strengthen partnerships and enhance existing diversity pipelines with local high schools.”

Anita Whitehead, philanthropy leader and chair of KPMG U.S. Foundation, noted that “the KPMG U.S. Foundation is proud to announce that it has awarded five institutions a total of $125,000 in funding for the inaugural year of our Reaching New Heights Program.”

Reaching New Heights is a grant and matching-gift program designed to promote access and equity in higher education, increase awareness of pipeline diversity at institutions, and create opportunities for collaboration between KPMG professionals and educators. According to KPMG, each selected institution will receive a $25,000 grant to fund a new or existing diversity program and participate in a 2:1 match up to $500,000 in eligible donations made by KPMG professionals, partners, and retired partners.

This program aligns with KPMG’s Accelerate 2025 commitment to advance equity in both its workplace and society by providing enhanced access to meaningful opportunities to help develop a more diverse workforce for the future.

STCC offers several diversity programs for students, including the Female Initiative for Leadership and Education (Lead) program, which provides leadership opportunities, one-on-one mentoring, and networking with business and community leaders. BLOOM students will automatically be enrolled in the Lead program to enhance their academic and career success in the business career or transfer programs.

“BLOOM is a terrific opportunity for our underrepresented female students,” said Karolyn Burgos Toribio, Community Outreach counselor for the Lead program, who benefited from Lead when she was a student at STCC. “We look forward to helping students in the BLOOM Bridge program by empowering them to pursue a career in business, while also helping them in their leadership development and self-development. The program will also help students build networks and offer community-engagement opportunities. My time in the Lead program helped me become the woman I am today. It helped me acquire leadership skills, build my network, and provided me with mentorship support that I am eternally grateful for.”

Another support program, the Male Initiative for Leadership and Education (MILE), provides academic support, workshops, community involvement, experiences in leadership, and mentors to male students on campus who wish to participate.

STCC, the only technical community college in Massachusetts, is a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution. Colleges with an Hispanic student population of at least 25% are eligible for the designation. Latino, Latina, and Latinx students make up more than 30% of the student population at STCC.

To donate to the BLOOM program, visit stcc.edu/supportbloom.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will offer a free, four-week HiSET preparation fast-track class from Jan. 9 to Feb. 3. HiSET is the high-school equivalency test, which is an alternative to a high-school diploma.

The HiSET prep class is administered through the Springfield Adult Learning Center Hampden Prep Program, which is part of the Workforce Development Center at STCC. The 76-hour program is offered Mondays (on campus and online), Tuesdays to Thursdays (virtual face-to-face) and Fridays (virtual asynchronous).

The program offers the following to students: targeted HiSET prep content instruction, test-taking strategies, second-language support, basic to intermediate computer and digital literacy skills training, college and career readiness advising, and opportunities to obtain additional certificates through workforce training.

To register, visit stcc.io/hisetfasttrack. For questions, call (413) 755-4300 or email [email protected].

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) professors Diane Sabato and John Diffley received the Michelson IP Educator of Excellence Award.

Sabato, an STCC business professor, and Diffley, an attorney and history professor, have been working on the intellectual-property (IP) educational initiative since 2020. STCC was one of only five colleges nationwide with faculty accepted into the Michelson IP Educator in Residence initiative. The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property and the National Assoc. for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) selected Sabato and Diffley for the project.

“It is wonderful to have our faculty recognized for their efforts to provide colleagues with professional development at the national level,” said Geraldine de Berly, vice president of Academic Affairs at STCC.

Judy Fox, director of the Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property, wrote in a blog that “these faculty partners went above and beyond during their tenure as NACCE and Michelson IP (educators-in-residence) to create and implement additional tools, workshops, trainings, networking, and publicity opportunities for IP among the community-college population, with great success.”

Among their accomplishments was moving IP education and Michelson into the national conversation, Fox said. They published an article in the Western New England Law Review.

Sabato and Diffley have been collaborating with four other educators focusing on a mission to deliver intellectual-property education. They joined faculty from institutions in New Jersey, Florida, California, and New Mexico.

Intellectual property refers to inventions and human creations such as literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, and names and images used in commerce.

Sabato taught intellectual-property concepts in an entrepreneurship class at STCC. Diffley brought the historical perspective of Springfield as an innovation hub and the capacity to implement campus-wide initiatives, initially, through the Honors Program.

“Being selected as the winners of the IP Educator of Excellence Award 2022 … was an unexpected and humbling honor for Professor John Diffley and myself,” Sabato said. “It means so much to us and affirms the work that we’ve been doing to promote intellectual property for our students and others across the country. IP awareness and education is particularly important for community-college students as it can be a critical factor for them in recognizing, claiming, and protecting the value of the products of their own minds. IP can hold the key for them to build wealth, grow entrepreneurial ventures, and add value to the world around them.”

Diffley said providing access to the understanding of IP helps support STCC’s equity agenda and prepares students for success in an increasingly digital world and economy.

“It was an absolute honor and privilege to be asked by Diane to join this project,” he said. “I am immensely proud of the work we did, and even more so to be recognized with this award, in support of spreading IP education.”

Richard Greco, dean of the School of Liberal and Professional Studies, congratulated them for receiving the award and for their hard work and dedication.

“Professors Sabato and Diffley both have a passion for innovation,” he said. “Their work with the Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property and NACCE extends beyond the mission at STCC to support students as they transform their lives, and adds to the body of scholarship in the field of intellectual property. We are proud of their scholarship. They also are helping to make Springfield and the Pioneer Valley an innovation hub.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — In a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 14, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) celebrated the launch of the Workforce Development CNA Laboratory.

With the new lab, STCC will increase training capacity of the Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Plus program and help fill a demand for healthcare jobs in the region.

At an event in Building 27 on campus, STCC President John Cook and staff welcomed regional healthcare leaders, as well as legislators and elected officials who were on hand to celebrate the college’s new lab. They took a tour of the new facility, which includes high-tech patient simulators for students to use for training.

The construction of the new lab was completed with college operations funds. New, state-of-the-art equipment was made possible with Perkins funding. Free-of-cost training to qualifying participants is being provided with funds from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Training Resources and Internship Networks (TRAIN) program and the High Demand Workforce Training Grant. The total cost of the project, including funds for construction, design, equipment, materials, and training, is about $2 million.

Gladys Franco, assistant vice president for Workforce Development at STCC, said students receive hands-on training at the new CNA lab, which includes six patient simulators. Students also train through clinical rotations at long-term-care facilities.

“It’s an amazing course,” said Marianna Navarro Santiago, a CNA student who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “I used to work in the healthcare field, but I’ve been out of school for a while. Having a refresher course and an amazing teacher is helpful for me.”

Another student, Marcia Virgovuncan, said, “it’s been a tremendous journey for me. We have a wonderful teacher, Kathleen Nichols. I can’t wait to get out and take care of people. There are a lot of people out there who need our care.”

STCC understands the dire need for more direct-care workers throughout the region. More than 500 unique job postings for CNAs and home health aides are posted in the region each year.

“With intentionality and planning diligence, STCC continues to make every effort to meet the need for healthcare workforce training,” Cook said. “This investment brings an enhanced capacity in a field we know only continues to grow and expand.”

The new CNA lab will enable STCC to increase training capacity (day, afternoon, evening, and weekends) of the CNA Plus program, which effectively translates to a new cohort starting about every six weeks. The program is designed to help students achieve a certified nurse assistant certificate, CPR certification, home health aide (HHA) training certificate, and Alzheimer’s and neurological disorders training, which will expand participant placement opportunities.

Students who complete the program will hold certificates that will allow direct employment placement into area medical, assisted-living or rehabilitation facilities, or employment with visiting healthcare services for in-home positions.

The state grants will provide at least 80 students with full tuition, books, and equipment necessary to complete the CNA Plus program, including the CNA certificate testing fees.

The SNAP Path to Work Program and the Hampden Prep Program funded by the Community Mitigation Grant also support students in accessing CNA training at STCC.

Christopher Scott, dean of the School of Health and Patient Simulation, said CNA students have an opportunity to transition to the STCC degree programs if they want to continue their education. He added that the patient simulators in the lab are a vital learning and preparation tool for students.

“We worked hard to try to develop a realistic environment, and that’s important for enhanced healthcare skills,” he explained. “It’s truly an exciting time for us here at STCC.”

Gladys Franco, vice president for Workforce Development at STCC, said “we appreciate the work of our regional employment board, legislative delegation, and executive leaders at the Executive Office of Education, the Department of Higher Education, and the Office of Labor and Workforce Development for their advocacy and allocation of funds.

“The grants received enable us to train certified nursing assistants, an area of high impact for our regional and statewide workforce, at no cost to our community members with the highest needs,” she added. “We’re excited to now be able to provide this training and expand the opportunities in our new state-of-the-art facility in Building 27. I encourage prospective students looking to enter a career in health to call our office or register via our website at stcc.edu/wdc.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Today’s “We the Women” series at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will feature an in-person discussion with Jacqueline Johnson, chief operations officer of Caring Health Center Inc., which serves the state’s largest refugee community. The event will take place from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. in the STCC Student Learning Commons (Building 19).

“We the Women” celebrates achievements by women leaders. Featuring local speakers, the series discusses women’s careers, accomplishments, and the barriers they face.

Johnson has more than 21 years of experience leading diverse teams in community-based organizations across the education and healthcare sectors. She began her career at Caring Health Center in 2008 and held roles there as program director for HIV prevention and insurance navigation programs prior to becoming chief operating officer in 2012.

Raised by a strong single mother, her upbringing motivated her to be her best self and instilled in her an unwavering determination that has guided her educational and professional journey.

Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and urban development from Mount Holyoke College, a master’s degree in social justice education from UMass Amherst, and a doctorate in higher education leadership and organizational studies from Bay Path University, where she is also a member of the faculty.

Special Coverage Technology

Defense Mechanism

future site of the SOC and cyber range

STCC’s Mary Kaselouskas tours the future site of the SOC and cyber range with U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and other stakeholders.


By now, Mary Kaselouskas says, the vast majority of people understand the importance of cybersecurity.

“Everyone is fully aware of the threats out there, how people become victims of cybercrime and the impact on an organization that’s involved in a breach,” said Kaselouskas, vice president ands chief information officer at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC).

What they might not know, she added, is the critical shortage in the cybersecurity workforce, with an estimated 20,000 more professionals needed in Massachusetts alone, not to mention about 1 million in the U.S. and 3 million around the world.

That’s why she, and other officials at STCC, around the state, and across the region’s IT sector are celebrating a new initiative to promote the development of a diverse cybersecurity workforce locally, with the goal of improving cyber resiliency in the Commonwealth.

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, state and academic officials, and IT industry leaders were on hand at Union Station in Springfield on Oct. 31 to announce $1,462,995 in state funding will allow STCC to establish a security operation center, or SOC, at Union Station that will provide threat monitoring and other cybersecurity services for Commonwealth municipalities and small business and nonprofit customers. The funds will also establish a cyber range, a new testing lab to mirror real-world IT environments to provide hands-on training opportunities to local companies, universities, and other cyber-focused organizations.

“We’re seeking to establish Massachusetts as the national leader when it comes to cybersecurity infrastructure. We’re bringing together leading academic partners and businesses to support cyber resiliency and workforce development in the Commonwealth.”

“I have been involved with this for quite a while, and a steering committee was established many years ago, looking at how to address a shortage of cybersecurity workers in Springfield and the Pioneer Valley,” Kaselouskas said, noting that partners on the project include the Springfield Redevelopment Authority, a new entity called CyberTrust Massachusetts, the MassCyberCenter, and local colleges and universities, among others.

As the grant recipient, STCC will staff and operate the Union Station facility in partnership with a consortia of area higher-education institutions, including Bay Path University, UMass Amherst, Western New England University, Elms College, and Springfield College, each of which bring a range of undergraduate certificate and degree programs in IT/security, cybersecurity, computer science and programming, digital forensics, and criminal justice.

The SOC, Kaselouskas explained, is “a physical location at Union Station that monitors, detects, and responds to cyber threats 24/7/365, protecting organizations’ assets. A lot of companies don’t have the resources for a fully operational SOC, or can even afford to have managed SOC operations.”

The center will have full-time employees but also offer training opportunities for students at area colleges by way of internships and work-study programs, she added. “This will operate as a business once the grant money is gone. We haven’t discussed fees, but we will have an employee working in business outreach to get customers on board that will utilize the facility.”

Meanwhile, the cyber range will allow both students and employees of companies and municipalities to experience simulated threats in a virtual environment, with hands-on training in live-fire attacks, blue-team/red-team events (in which one team attacks a system and the other defends it), and other training models, potentially leading to certification in security fields for students.

“That’s the training part of this,” Kaselouskas told BusinessWest, noting that area colleges and universities will incorporate the cyber-range software into courses. “If a student is enrolled at STCC in the cybersecurity program, they may take a few courses that use the cyber range — so it’s not a whole course, but a component of a course.”

STCC President John Cook

STCC President John Cook says the cyber project at Union Station will be transformative for the region and higher education.

The grant to STCC will cover renovation and construction of the Union Station space, which is estimated to open in the first half of 2024. The facility will include a classroom and a conference room for up to 60 people, able to accommodate those cyber-related events and to serve as a space for collaboration, in addition to separate classroom space, workstations for use by academic partners, offices for facility staff, a tech-support area, a kitchen, and storage.

As part of a site-based service arrangement, STCC will provide administrative oversight for the facility, including all human-resources functions for employees and hiring of key personnel, plus the establishment of electronic-systems management. The facility will also be overseen by a steering committee of public, private, and academic stakeholders, which will include the Springfield Redevelopment Authority, the owner of Union Station.


Dollars and Data

The Union Station project is just one component of a more than $3.7 million outlay to bolster cybersecurity resilience — and the related workforce — across the state. The announcements were made during the sixth Massachusetts Cybersecurity Forum at Bridgewater State University, which brought together 100 executives from companies, municipalities, and leading universities.

The awards included a $1,086,476 grant to support the launch of CyberTrust Massachusetts, a new nonprofit that will work with business and academia statewide to grow the cybersecurity talent pipeline by increasing career pathways for underrepresented groups, and promote security operations to address the day-to-day needs of resource-constrained municipalities, nonprofits, and small businesses.

The Commonwealth also announced the $1,462,995 award to STCC and $1,200,000 to Bridgewater State University to establish SOCs and cyber ranges in the two cities.

“We’re seeking to establish Massachusetts as the national leader when it comes to cybersecurity infrastructure,” Gov. Charlie Baker said during the announcement event, adding that “we’re bringing together leading academic partners and businesses to support cyber resiliency and workforce development in the Commonwealth.”

CyberTrust Massachusetts was launched to address four key imperatives for the state:

• Undersecurity, as organizations across Massachusetts, especially municipalities, small businesses, and nonprofits, are challenged to find affordable resources to defend themselves against growing cybersecurity threats and maintain cyber resiliency;

• Underemployment, highlighted by the aforementioned 20,000 cybersecurity job openings in Massachusetts, and the fact that communities of color and women are underrepresented in the cybersecurity workforce and are frequently overlooked for employment due to a lack of opportunity to obtain hands-on cybersecurity experience;

• Employee training, as businesses across the Commonwealth typically do not have a location to send their employees to receive cybersecurity training at an affordable rate; and

• Business and economic development, specifically a need to convene regional hubs for business development where cybersecurity entrepreneurs can establish and grow startups or where specific industry segments such as defense contractors can receive specialized support.

“This first-of-its-kind collaboration among business, higher ed, and government through CyberTrust Massachusetts could transform our cyber education and training, growing our workforce and creating new opportunities statewide while helping to make our communities more cyber resilient,” said Pete Sherlock, CEO of CyberTrust Massachusetts.

“No organization is successful 100% of the time when it comes to defending against cyberattacks. With the new monitoring capabilities, organizations can increase awareness, detect intrusions faster, and respond more quickly to an incident.”

In February 2022, the MassCyberCenter released a request for responses seeking interest from entities interested in establishing an SOC and/or cyber range to support the dual missions around cybersecurity workforce development and for protection against cyber threats. Seven expressions of interest were received, including the proposals from STCC and Bridgewater State.

“We see these as the initial investments in a cyber-secure future, important investments to build out our plan for a cyber-resilient Massachusetts,” said Stephanie Helm, director of the MassCyberCenter. “The key word is ‘resilient,’ as no organization is successful 100% of the time when it comes to defending against cyberattacks. With the new monitoring capabilities, organizations can increase awareness, detect intrusions faster, and respond more quickly to an incident.”

STCC President John Cook agreed, noting that “this cybersecurity award will be transformative for our region and higher education. As one of the most pervasive liabilities for our businesses and communities, these funds ensure a regional center that will be a nexus for the cyber workforce with hands-on learning, in addition to establishing a resource for protecting our community partners against cybersecurity threats.”


Statewide Strategy

The grants are part of the Commonwealth’s ongoing investment in cybersecurity resiliency and workforce development. The award to CyberTrust Massachusetts is from the Massachusetts Cybersecurity Innovation Fund and will support the organization’s operating expenditures for a period of six months and will fund a contract for cyber-range services for one year.

“Leaders in the state’s cybersecurity ecosystem have been contributing to the establishment of CyberTrust Massachusetts because they see the imperative to help protect the undersecured and are passionate about training the next generation of our cyber workforce, including those from currently underrepresented populations,” said Jay Ash, chair of the CyberTrust board of directors and president and CEO of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership.

Meanwhile, the grants to STCC and Bridgewater State were generated by “An Act Relative to Immediate COVID-19 Recovery Needs,” which provided $15 million to the MassCyberCenter to incentivize the creation of regional SOC services and expand the cyber workforce in the state, including a focus on “underserved and underrepresented populations.”

“Springfield Union Station is a world-class transportation hub that will now be home to a world-class cybersecurity training and security-management center,” Neal said. “The Baker-Polito administration has worked hand in hand with the city of Springfield, the STCC team, and my office to make this a reality.”

Kaselouskas believes the new SOC and cyber range can help Greater Springfield become a key region for the cybersecurity sector in the Northeast.

“Union Station obviously has a long history in Springfield, and the location is really centralized, and we’re hoping it will be a hub,” she said, adding that the facility could also bring in guest speakers for training — IT experts who hail not only from the area colleges and universities, but from large employers such as Baystate Health, MassMutual, and even the military.

“STCC is well-known and right around the corner, with 200 students in these programs right now,” she told BusinessWest. “We’re hopeful this will also boost interest in coming not only to STCC to explore these programs, but also to the other colleges we work with, which have strong programs as well.”

At STCC, she pointed out, many students hail from Western Mass. and then stay here, so any effort on the college’s part to train the future cybersecurity workforce will strengthen the sector locally.

“We’re hoping to make an impact in this area, to give back to local communities by educating students and keeping them close,” Kaselouskas added. “This program is going to be pretty big because not a lot of states do this. We expect to see this grow around the state and for Massachusetts to become a leader in cyber education.”


Joseph Bednar can be reached at [email protected]

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) announced the hiring of Eli Freund as director of Marketing and Communications and Louis Burgos as Digital and Social Media manager.

Freund comes to the college with experience in communications and journalism. In his new role, he will plan and execute strategic marketing and communications programs that promote STCC, among other responsibilities.

He was previously the director of communications for the University of Connecticut School of Engineering, where he oversaw external and internal communications. He also managed the integrated marketing plan for the school, which included social media, email marketing, paid advertising, search-engine optimization, and media relations.

In addition to his new role at STCC, he serves as an adjunct communications professor at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Prior to his role at UConn, Freund worked as a reporter, covering education and town government for the Chronicle in Willimantic, Conn., and the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Conn. After leaving journalism, he worked in the mayor’s office in the town of East Hartford, Conn., as a communications officer, and worked for Clarus Commerce in Rocky Hill, Conn., coordinating all its public relations.

Freund earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in communication from the University of Hartford.

Burgos will lead a strong content strategy for STCC across its digital platforms, advancing the college’s brand, stakeholder support, and enrollment. In his new role, he will develop the college’s web content, social-media channels, and digital media and manage many creative projects, including writing digital copy.

Burgos previously worked at the Center for EcoTechnology in Springfield as a bilingual Marketing And Communication coordinator, where he managed its social-media presence and also served as videographer/video editor. In addition to his position there, he has also worked as a wedding videographer.

Burgos earned an associate degree in communication media and theater arts in 2018 from Holyoke Community College. In 2020, he continued his education and received a bachelor’s degree in communication from Westfield State University.

Dr. Shai Butler, vice president of Advancement & External Affairs, who oversees the Marketing and Communications team, said Freund and Burgos are welcome additions to the team.

“I’m delighted that Eli and Louis have joined us and will apply their talents to let the community know about STCC’s mission,” Butler said. “They have the qualities needed to strengthen our marketing and communications efforts.”

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will host a Back to Business Career and Transfer Fair on Thursday, Dec. 8 with area employers seeking to attract and retain employees.

The event, which is free and open to students, alumni, and friends of STCC looking for their next career move, will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Ira H. Rubenzahl Student Learning Commons (Building 19).

“We are excited to bring back the Back to Business Career and Transfer Fair to STCC,” said Shai Butler, vice president for Advancement & External Affairs. “At our last fair earlier this year, we had a positive response from students, alumni, and friends of the college thinking about careers, as well as from area employers. This is a great opportunity for businesses in the region to connect with STCC students, alumni, and friends who are searching for their next career move.”

Attendees also will have a chance to meet with representatives from four-year colleges and universities who can discuss transfer options. Four-year colleges and universities that offer transfer opportunities to STCC students can set up a table for free at the fair.

Employers and four-year colleges and universities are invited to contact STCC to participate. STCC secured PeoplesBank as its first corporate sponsor. Visit stcc.edu/backtobusiness to learn more about becoming a sponsor and/or vendor. STCC offers corporate and nonprofit partnerships, which includes a vendor table.

During an employer breakfast, the college will host a moderated panel of industry experts discussing the future of work. Conversations will include focus on how managers are responding to such topics as quiet quitting, hybrid/remote work requests, losing women in the workforce, and more.

“We encourage employers to register as soon as possible, since employer space is limited,” said Kelly Galanis, director of Operations and Donor Relations for the STCC Foundation.

Jennifer Brown, president of the STCC Foundation board of directors and senior manager of Professional Sales at Masis Professional Group, noted that employers are hiring right now.

“Employers won’t want to miss being part of the Back to Business Career Fair at STCC,” she said. “Companies are looking for top talent to join their team right now, and the need to connect with good candidates is top priority for hiring managers. STCC has a variety of programs available to meet the demands in high-demand areas such as healthcare, advanced manufacturing, construction, engineering, business administration, and computer science. “

Participants can visit stcc.edu/backtobusiness to find more information, including a link to download the CareerFair Plus app and links to register. For questions, contact Galanis at (413) 755-5429 or [email protected].

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SPRINGFIELD — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, celebrated the recent announcement by the Baker-Polito administration and the MassCyberCenter at the MassTech Collaborative regarding a new initiative to promote the development of a diverse cybersecurity workforce and improve local cyber resiliency in the Commonwealth that will bring $1,462,995 to Springfield.

This funding will allow Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) to establish a security operation center, or SOC, at Springfield Union Station that will provide threat monitoring and other cybersecurity services for Commonwealth municipalities and small business/nonprofit customers. The funds will also establish a cyber range, a new testing lab to mirror real-world IT environments to provide hands-on training opportunities available to local companies, universities, and other cyber-focused organizations.

Neal was joined on Monday at Springfield Union Station by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Springfield Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Amanda Pham, STCC President John Cook, CyberTrust Massachusetts CEO Pete Sherlock, MassCyberCenter Director Stephanie Helm, and local leaders to celebrate the award.

“Springfield Union Station is a world-class transportation hub that will now be home to a world-class cybersecurity-training and security-management center,” Neal said. “The Baker-Polito administration has worked hand in hand with the city of Springfield, the STCC team, and my office to make this a reality.”

Sarno added that “this $1.5 million investment to STCC for this transformative and dynamic Cybersecurity Center of Excellence at our historic Union Station will support the state’s workforce-development objectives around cybersecurity with promoting diversity and supporting that good four-letter word, jobs.”

The facility will be overseen by a steering committee of public, private, and academic stakeholders, which will include the Springfield Redevelopment Authority (SRA), which owns Union Station.

“Union Station is uniquely positioned to accommodate the Cyber Center as it serves as the region’s intermodal transportation center at the crossroads of New England providing rail and bus service to our area’s diverse population,” Phan said. “We thank the Baker-Polito administration and MassCyberCenter for the award and designation as a Cybersecurity Center of Excellence and congratulate STCC on this milestone. These funds, coupled with the city of Springfield’s commitment of $500,000, will allow for the advancement of design and construction of this transformative center.”

STCC is the lead entity developing both a cyber range and SOC within the Union Station complex, serving Western Mass. and beyond. STCC will staff and operate the facility in partnership with a consortia of area higher-education institutions (Bay Path University, UMass Amherst, Western New England University, Elms College, and Springfield College), each of which bring a range of undergraduate certificate and degree programs in IT/security, cybersecurity, computer science and programming, digital forensics, and criminal justice. Another facility will be based at Bridgewater State University.

The grant to STCC will cover renovation and construction of the Union Station space, which is estimated to open during the first half of 2024, based on the initial timeline provided. The proposed facility will include a classroom and a conference room for up to 60 people, able to accommodate cyber-related events and to serve as a space for collaboration, in addition to separate classroom space, workstations for use by academic partners, offices for facility staff, a tech-support area, a kitchen, and storage.

As part of a site-based service arrangement, STCC will provide administrative oversight for the facility, including all HR for employees and hiring of key personnel, plus the establishment of electronic-systems management.

“This first-of-its-kind collaboration among business, higher ed, and government through CyberTrust Massachusetts could transform our cyber education and training, growing our workforce and creating new opportunities statewide, while helping to make our communities more cyber resilient,” Sherlock said.

Cook said the award will be “transformative for our region and higher education. As one of the most pervasive liabilities for our businesses and communities, these funds ensure a regional center that will be a nexus for the cyber workforce with hands-on learning, in addition to establishing a resource for protecting our community partners against cybersecurity threats.”

Helm sees these initial investments as critical for building out a plan for a “cyber-resilient Massachusetts,” adding that “the key word is ‘resilient,’ as no organization is successful 100% of the time when it comes to defending against cyber attacks. With the new monitoring capabilities, organizations can increase awareness, detect intrusions faster, and respond more quickly to an incident.”

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will celebrate innovative champions at a gala held at the Marriott Springfield Downtown on Thursday, Oct. 6 from 5 to 8 p.m.

The STCC Resilience Awards and Gala recognizes the college’s 55th year. The theme, “55 Years of Gratitude and Grit,” reflects the resilience of students and STCC alumni.

The STCC Foundation, which supports the mission of the college, is seeking sponsors and invites the public to join the event. The cost is $100 per guest or $55 for student tickets. Proceeds will go toward supporting STCC students. Visit stcc.io/55 to RSVP.

In keeping with the theme, STCC will honor community leaders who have demonstrated resilience and innovative excellence through their work and service within Western Mass. STCC, the only technical community college in Massachusetts, features a wide variety of programs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as well as manufacturing, healthcare, business, social services and the liberal arts.

“We will honor entrepreneurs, business and civic leaders, and STCC alumni who have used their time, treasure, and talent to improve and transform lives, neighborhoods, and communities,” said Shai Butler, vice president of Advancement & External Affairs.

Jennifer Brown, president of the STCC Foundation, is inviting alumni and friends of the college to attend the gala. “We want to celebrate those in our community who have made a meaningful difference — those who have had an impact on the Western Mass. workforce,” she said. “Join us to be a part of this amazing and unique celebration of STCC and area leaders.”

The gala co-hosts are Butler and John Cook, STCC president. Co-chairs are Brown, who is senior manager of Professional Sales for Masis Professional Group, and Frank Quigley ’77, president of F.D. Quigley & Associates.

Gala Distinguished honorees include Helen Caulton-Harris, Health and Human Services commissioner for the City of Springfield (Community Innovation Champion); Nadim Kashouh, owner of Nadim’s Mediterranean Grill (Industry Innovation Champion); state Rep. Angelo Puppolo (Government & Public Affairs Champion); and Louis Weir ’00, assistant superintendent of Special Ops and chief of Security at the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department (Alumni Champion).

For more information, including how to RSVP and be a sponsor, visit stcc.io/55.

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) and Holyoke Community College (HCC) announced a partnership with Upright Education to offer training for skills in technology, including software development and design.

College officials said they were excited to partner with Upright, a workforce-training company, to create more technical jobs, including in the growing information technology (IT) sector, and skilled-labor opportunities for the Western Mass. workforce. The colleges and Upright are offering online educational opportunities for adult learners looking for a new career in technology. No experience is necessary to enroll.

STCC is an institution dedicated to closing gaps in opportunity and achievement for students who traditionally face disproportionate challenges in the professional sphere. HCC pursues a similar mission by fostering a connected college experience designed to educate students holistically in an open and inclusive atmosphere. Both are also designated Hispanic Serving Institutions dedicated to promoting diversity in public education in Massachusetts.

Upright President and CEO Benjamin Boas and the presidents of both colleges participated in a formal announcement on Sept. 13.

“STCC is excited to partner with Upright Education to offer short-term certificate programs that will help anyone in Western Massachusetts who would like to change their career or develop technical skills to find jobs in high-demand fields, which includes high-tech,” STCC President John Cook said. “This new partnership aligns strongly with STCC’s technical mission and helps meet the demand for skilled workers in the region.”

HCC President Christina Royal added that “HCC is happy to join in the announcement of our joint partnership with Upright to provide 21st-century skills for today’s job seeker. The development of skills in IT will make our students more ready for the jobs in the future. Together, Upright, HCC, and STCC will help make job seekers of Western Mass. job-ready.”

Along with Greenfield Community College, Upright now partners with three different colleges in the region. These partnerships represent Upright’s investment in the growing tech sector in the state, particularly surrounding Springfield, which Boston Business Journal ranked the number-one city in the country for tech job growth in 2021.

Massachusetts has received support and resources for its tech sector from major companies in the tech industry, including an annual donation of $500,000 of cloud-computing resources from Microsoft. Upright’s presence also continues to grow in the Northeast more broadly, where its partnerships include multiple schools in New York and Vermont, and nationally, where it has signed 11 total education partnerships to date.

“Adults working hourly jobs want salaried careers where they can work remotely, enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, and reside in a neighborhood that doesn’t break the bank. Western Massachusetts represents a landscape that is ripe for providing these career opportunities in the growing tech economy,” said Benny Boas, CEO and founder of Upright Education. “Upright’s partnership with Springfield Technical Community College and Holyoke Community College provides direct-to-career pathways for in-demand technology jobs through accessible programs, which don’t require industry experience or a college degree.”

Upright’s full-time and part-time boot camps and individual courses currently maintain a job-placement rate of 92% and offer a 30% increase in salary for students coming from prior careers.

Expanding services in the Springfield region supports Upright’s mission of stimulating economic growth in areas where large populations of working adults stand to benefit from innovative educational opportunities and skilled training in burgeoning professional fields like software development, designing visual elements on a website, and improving user experience and user interface with the website.

Anyone interested in learning more about these programs may attend an informational session hosted by the enrollment team via Zoom on Thursday, Sept. 22 at noon. Click here to register.

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SPRINGFIELD American International College (AIC) has signed an articulation agreement with Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), formally establishing a close academic relationship between the two-year college and the four-year institution. 

This accord between American International College and Springfield Technical Community College aligns academic programs that enhance the seamless transition of STCC graduates and qualified candidates from STCC, and promote a smooth, successful transfer to AIC. 

This articulation agreement offers time and cost savings for students by recognizing the coursework pursued at the community college and demonstrates the ongoing commitment of both AIC and STCC to the community and its students, by ensuring that educational pathways are created for all those who wish to consider a degree in higher education. 

At AIC, the program is referred to as Direct Connect. Direct Connect transfer students automatically receive a $4,000 scholarship in addition to their earned merit scholarship, before any need-based aid is awarded. This means Direct Connect students can earn up to $18,000 in financial gift aid, not loans, before being evaluated for additional need-based aid. And, unlike some other transfer articulation agreements, the Direct Connect program at AIC allows students to study and major in their area of interest while attending their community college. 

“We are honored to have entered into a partnership with Springfield Technical Community College,” said American International College President Hubert Benitez. The execution of articulation agreements with our community colleges, exemplifies AIC’s vision of expanding the services we provide to our students and to the communities we serve. In this time where the value of education is being questioned, we are ensuring that students not lose time or credits in the transition.”  

“We appreciate the continued collaboration between STCC and AIC, and welcome, in particular, the program-specific nature of this partnership,” said STCC President John Cook. “As neighbors just over a mile from one another, it is wonderful to continue our shared commitment to college access and affordability.”    

More information about American International College’s Direct Connect program and other undergraduate, and graduate degree programs can be found online at www.aic.edu. 

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SPRINGFIELD – Springfield Technical Community College will be offering a variety of summer programs for people ages 11-16 to provide learning opportunities in STEM fields. 

The following programs will be offered this July and August: 

  • Theater, July 11-15 (ages 11-14): This class is designed to help build self-awareness, cultivate self-confidence, and help students explore their inner creativity. Students will learn teamwork through theatre games, acting exercises, and improvisation;
  • It’s Your Turn to Take the Mic, July 18-22 (ages 11-14): A workshop in public speaking that seeks to empower girls to develop the poise and communication skills needed to engage in effective public speaking;
  • Basketball and Physics, July 18-22 (ages 11-14): This class will teach the skills needed to be a better player on the court by giving small group instruction on fundamentals and skill development. This session will also include 3.5 hours of instructions relative to the physics of basketball and exercise;
  • JUS10H University, July 25-29 (ages 13-16): Students will learn the basic fundamentals of sewing, modeling and styling, as well as how to build a career in the fashion industry;
  • “Who done it?” Extreme Science Kid (Forensic Science), August 1-5 (ages 11-14): Children will actively engage in data collection, observation, analysis, and problem-solving while performing an interactive group-style investigation.
  • Say It Loud!! Extreme Science Kid (Great Debaters), August 8-12 (ages 13-16): Children will learn critical thinking skills, respectful dialog, research techniques, and fact-checking tips through debating topics of interest.

All programs cost $189 to enroll and run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Parents are responsible for providing lunch. Participants must be vaccinated for COVID-19 and are required to provide documentation of vaccination. 

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SPRINGFIELD — The Hispanic American Institute, in partnership with Springfield Technical Community College, will offer two free courses to support Latino and minority entrepreneurs in Springfield by providing education and tools which will help them achieve economic prosperity. 

The two courses are “English for Entrepreneurs,” starting today and “Basic Computer Skills Classes,” starting April 26.  STCC’s Workforce Development Center will offer the two courses for HAI. Learn more about the classes at stcc.edu/wdc. 

Courses are open to Springfield residents or any entrepreneur who has a business in Springfield or wants to start a business in Springfield. Courses are taught in English, but translation in Spanish will be available as needed. 

The Boston office of the Hispanic American Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting social, educational, and economic development in Hispanic communities in the continental United States, Puerto Rico, and Latin America, will provide funding for the courses. 

As part of this Springfield project, the Hispanic American Institute will provide bilingual and culturally competent business technical assistance to minority-owned businesses. The goal is to increase revenues, create and retain jobs, and help start new businesses. The Hispanic American Institute has recently opened a local office at 1350 Main St., Suite 1508, in Springfield. 

“We were inspired to create a holistic approach to supporting immigrants, particularly Latino entrepreneurs, in Springfield by providing educational courses and one-on-one business coaching,” said John Perez, consulting project manager for the Hispanic American Institute.  

“We know lack of English language proficiency is a barrier to economic prosperity,” he added. “Further, lack of computer skills further inhibits access to knowledge and opportunities to start and manage a business successfully. Through this collaboration and the courses being offered, we hope to address all these issues and open opportunities for the participants.” 

STCC, which has a technical focus in all of its programs, is designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution. That means at least 25% of the full-time equivalent students are Hispanic and the college is eligible for grants to benefit all students.   

About the courses: 

English for Entrepreneurs: This course, taught virtually via Zoom, is designed for business owners, entrepreneurs and adults. Participants will learn English in the context of managing a business. Vocabulary will cover marketing, management, accounting and legal terms frequently used in casual conversations. As part of this class, participants will be asked to create a business pitch.  

Prior to starting the course, STCC will assess each participant to place them at the correct level. The course runs for 10 weeks. Classes will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. April 25 through June 29. 

Basic Computer Skills Classes: This in-person course is designed for business owners, entrepreneurs and adults. Participants will develop basic computer skills for office work, as well as for the effective management of a business. Students will participate in activities to learn: Google Documents, Google Sheets basics (spreadsheets), efficient use of the internet, Google Slides basics, efficient use of electronic communications (e-mail), and file management and storage in Google Drive.  

There will be two cohorts. The first cohort will start April 26 and will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at STCC. The course will run 5 weeks (last class May 26). The second cohort will start on May 31 and end on June 30. 

For more information, contact the Workforce Development Center at STCC. Visit the office at Building 27, second floor. Call (413) 755-4225 or email [email protected]. 

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) received two grants worth $55,000 from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.

A $30,000 Flexible Funding Grant awarded to the STCC Foundation will be used to boost the student-empowerment fund, which was created as a resource for students facing a variety of barriers standing in the way of their ability to complete their education.

Students in need of support for short-term housing, transportation, childcare, academic program resources, and nutritious meals can apply for the help they need through the empowerment fund, freeing them to focus on their studies and complete their programs.

A separate $25,000 grant from the Community Foundation will be used to fund the STCC’s COVID-19 vaccine video. STCC has created a video to promote vaccinations. All community colleges in the Commonwealth are requiring students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated by the start of the spring semester in January.

This vaccine requirement is aimed at ensuring the safest learning and working environment possible for all members of the STCC community.

The STCC Foundation, a nonprofit organization, helps STCC meet its goals and commitment to provide superior educational opportunities to the community.

“We are very grateful for the Community Foundation’s support,” said Shai Butler, STCC’s interim vice president of Advancement and External Affairs. “They are helping us to advance our mission to support students as they transform their lives. These have been challenging times for our students. Some of them have gotten sick and have had to take time off to recover. Some have lost jobs or have had to cut back their hours to take care of their families. The funding from the Community Foundation will help them stay in college and pursue their goals.”

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) has been awarded two grants worth more than $7 million from the U.S. Department of Education to boost student success among Latinx and low-income students in STEM fields, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal announced on Wednesday during a visit to STCC.

“I am thrilled to celebrate the success of Springfield Technical Community College’s grant applications to the U.S. Department of Education,” Neal said. “These two awards totaling more than $7 million over a five-year period will help support the science, technology, engineering, and math programs at the college and welcome more students into the ever-growing field. This area of study is important across the country but is especially vital here in Massachusetts where we have some of the highest concentration of research and development in the world. Graduates of STCC will be ready to meet the challenge.”

The first grant, titled “Project Acceleration: Re-engineering Pathways to Student Success in STEM,” will run for five years for a total of $3 million. It will allow STCC to create a STEM studies program and develop support services to increase access to STEM careers.

The grant is designed to increase enrollment and improve the graduation rates of Latinx and low-income students in STEM majors and help them continue with their studies instead of withdrawing from school. In addition, the grant will allow STCC to help reduce the time it takes male students of color, particularly Latinx, to complete studies. The grant falls under the federal Title V program, which was created to improve higher education of Hispanic students.

The second grant announced by Neal is titled “STEM Access and Retention Strategies.” The five-year grant, totaling $4,352,559, will allow STCC to create and enhance support services for Latinx and low-income students. Services and programs supported by the grant include creation of STEM-focused first-year experience courses; utilization of proactive STEM advisors, which would involves bringing services to students rather than waiting for them to ask; and implementation of additional mental-health services.

In recent years, STCC created a STEM Center that offers opportunities for tutoring and group study for all students. The college also provides mentoring and coaching. The new federal grant also will allow STCC to enhance professional development for faculty.

“We are thrilled to receive this funding from the U.S. Department of Education and extremely grateful for support from Congressman Neal,” Cook said. “I want to thank our local delegation for visiting STCC and for their support through the years. These grants will directly address challenges we face at the college. One of our top priorities is to close achievement gaps among students who have faced barriers, which includes many of our Latinx and low-income students. These grants will help support our students and give them a better chance at staying in college and earning their degree.”

STCC, the only technical community college in Massachusetts, is federally designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution, with 30% of the students identifying as Hispanic. The city of Springfield suffers high unemployment and poverty. Fifty-six percent of STCC students receive federal Pell grants, which are awarded to students who display exceptional financial need. Hispanic and low-income students enter college with greater developmental math needs and lower retention and graduation rates, on average, than non-Hispanic and higher-income students. Only 11.4% of Hispanic and 14% of low-income students major in STEM.

As part of the grant focusing on access and retention strategies, STCC will partner with UMass Amherst and Central Connecticut State University to expand transfer opportunities for students.

“These grants will directly impact the Springfield community around STCC by providing better access to support services for our students so they can succeed in science, technology, engineering, and math,” said Lara Sharp, dean of the School of STEM.

After the announcement, Neal toured the state-of-the-art laboratories and classrooms in the Smith & Wesson STCC Advanced Manufacturing Building in Springfield Technology Park. The facility includes computer numerical control machines and other tools and machines used in precision manufacturing.

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SPRINGFIELD — Carberry Conversations, presented by Springfield Technical Community College’s Amy H. Carberry Fine Arts Gallery, continues on Friday, Oct. 1 from 11 to 11:45 a.m. with a virtual conversation between associate professor and gallery coordinator Sondra Peron and adjunct professor and visual artist Jorge Costa.

This conversation between a photographer-philosopher and an artist-activist is likely to cover a wide range of topics including design inspired by nature, the connection between climate change and food politics, and race and architecture. The event is part of Hispanic/Latinx History Month at STCC. To attend the virtual event, register at stcc.io/costa.

Costa is a visual artist and an adjunct professor at Manchester Community College, Springfield College, and STCC. His work explores a variety of media, forms, and content, including research on biomimetic design, microbiology, bio-architecture, climate change, and the Anthropocene.

Costa has collaborated with other artists and shown his work in a variety of spaces, including the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Waterfront Artist Coalition; Brattleboro (Vt.) Museum & Art Center; A.P.E. Gallery, Northampton; Fowler Arts Collective, Brooklyn, N.Y., Sanford Meisner Theater, Chelsea, N.Y., Artists Space, Tribeca, N.Y., Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Kobe, Japan; Kathryn Schultz Gallery, Cambridge; and Hemphill Fine Arts Gallery, Washington, D.C. Learn more at www.jorgecosta.space.

Carberry Conversations is a series of virtual talks throughout the academic year between Peron and several past exhibiting artists whose work has been on view at the Amy H. Carberry Fine Arts Gallery since 2013, as well as STCC’s own art faculty. Conceived in response to the ongoing pandemic, these conversations function as a space to connect working artists and photographers to STCC and the Greater Springfield community covering a wide variety of topics, including origin stories, impact of current events on the artistic process, and the function of art and photography during times of crisis. The exhibition is supported in part by the School of Liberal and Professional Studies and the Fine Arts program.

The gallery reopens later this month a new, in-person exhibition in B28 with collages by Keith Hollingworth, “40 Black Writers.”

All Carberry Conversations are free and open to the public via Zoom.

Daily News

BOSTON — In an audit released Aug. 18, the office of state Auditor Suzanne Bump found Springfield Technical Community College’s spending of federal assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has been consistent with federal guidelines.

During the audit, which examined March 1, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2020, STCC received $4,586,795 in CARES Act funding and spent $1,157,621. The majority of STCC’s spending (97%) was allocated to students for emergency financial aid to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, and the remaining funds covered institutional costs.

“There is no doubt that the CARES Act has provided a much-needed lifeline to support higher-education institutions, like Springfield Technical Community College. I commend STCC’s appropriate use of these federal funds,” Bump said of the audit. “As we move forward, my office will continue this work to ensure federal COVID-19 relief money is used as intended and effectively by state government entities.”

The CARES Act was enacted by Congress on March 27, 2020, and provided $30.75 billion for a national Education Stabilization Fund to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Massachusetts Department of Education received $50.8 million in Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds from the CARES Act, which it then distributed to elementary-, secondary-, and higher-education recipients. This week’s audit is the second in a series of upcoming reports that will review state spending of COVID-19 federal funding.

In addition, unrelated to the examination of CARES Act spending, the audit notes that STCC had not established a campus-wide program to ensure that employees receive cybersecurity training. In its response, STCC stated that it is working toward providing mandatory IT training for all staff.

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SPRINGFIELD — The STEM Starter Academy at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will feature a talk by an expert on opioid-use disorder today, July 21, from 11 a.m. to noon, the first in a series of events for students in the Summer Bridge program. The events, held over Zoom, are free and open to the public as well as students.

Today’s STEM Starter Academy presents Dr. Elizabeth Evans, a professor at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at UMass Amherst. She specializes in opioids and other substances of abuse, women’s health, life course, social determinants, health-services utilization, and outcomes. She researches how healthcare systems and public policies can better promote health and wellness among vulnerable and underserved populations, particularly for individuals at risk for opioid and other substance-use disorders.

On Wednesday, July 28 from 10 to 11:30 a.m., the STEM Starter Academy will present a STEM Careers Symposium. The Zoom event will feature professors, scientists, and industry experts sharing their inspiring stories about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Anyone joining the event will learn about STEM career choices, challenges, demands, and opportunities.

Scheduled to speak are Robert O’Connor of the state office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; Shannon Roberts, a professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at UMass Amherst; Dr. John O’Reilly from the Division of General Pediatrics at Baystate Health; and Graziella DiRenzo, an ecologist at UMass Amherst.

To request a Zoom link to watch the series, e-mail Reena Randhir, director of the STEM Starter Academy at STCC, at [email protected].

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) named an interim vice president of Advancement and External Affairs, a leadership position that oversees institution-sustaining efforts, engagement writ large, and strategic communication.

Shai Butler

Shai Butler, who starts June 7, will work closely with STCC President John Cook to support the college’s mission. In this role, Butler will carry a portfolio that includes fundraising, governmental relations, strategic marketing, branding, and communication. The role also ensures deep connections with the STCC Foundation, and Butler carries the dual title of executive director of the STCC Foundation.

“We’re thrilled that Dr. Butler is joining us at STCC,” Cook said. “She brings tremendous intellect, along with a wealth of experience in higher education, to this role. Particularly impressive is her understanding of fundraising and community outreach, as well as her leadership of equity initiatives, which are so prominent in our mission at STCC.”

Butler most recently served as vice president for Student Development at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y.

Jennifer Brown, president of the STCC Foundation board of directors, said the board is looking forward to working with Butler. “The foundation board is pleased to welcome Dr. Shai Butler to Springfield Technical Community College. She will be a strong asset to enhance and support the mission of the STCC Foundation.”

Butler is no stranger to Western Mass.; her husband, Odo Butler, worked at American International College from 2018 to 2020, and they have enjoyed camping trips to Becket.

“I’m excited about joining STCC and looking forward to meeting faculty, students, staff, as well as the many partners in the community, government, education, and industry,” Butler said. “STCC is a gem for Greater Springfield, and I look forward to supporting its goals and mission in my role at the college.”

Known by her students as “Dr. Shai,” Butler led the creation of the division of Student Development at the College of Saint Rose, where she had worked in various leadership roles since 2007. For many years, she served as the chief diversity officer. She began her career in higher education at the University at Albany – State University of New York, where she worked for over a decade, and where she previously earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in educational administration and policy studies. In 2014, she earned a doctoral degree in law and policy at Northeastern University in Boston.

A speaker, writer, and influencer on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), as well as women’s leadership, mentorship, sponsorship, and professional development, Butler is an executive contributor for higheredjobs.com. In addition, her research on educational access for low-income students opened the door for her to join 60 educators at a 2014 White House conference on increasing the number of youth and traditional college-aged students of color majoring in STEM fields.

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will celebrate the class of 2021 with a drive-through parade today, June 3, at 4 p.m.

All graduates and their guests must ride in a car. STCC will provide transportation for students who do not have access to a vehicle. Faculty and staff from STCC will line Mary Killeen Bennett Way, which is the main road on campus, to cheer on graduates.

“We are delighted to host a drive-through parade to honor our graduates,” STCC President John Cook said. “As students, they have faced tough obstacles over the past year. The faculty, staff, and I are proud of them. They deserve to be celebrated.”

Andrea Tarpey, coordinator of Student Activities at STCC, proposed the idea for a parade. “We know how important it is to celebrate graduation, and a parade is a wonderful and safe way to honor the achievement,” she said. “I think our graduates will love the experience, and we can’t wait to cheer them on.”

Graduates can wear their cap and gown and decorate their car. Only one car per graduate is permitted to participate in the parade. The parade will start at the Federal Street entrance to the campus.

Separately, STCC is planning a virtual commencement on Friday, June 18 at 6 p.m. Graduates and their friends and family can watch the streaming event on the STCC YouTube channel.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Technical Community College Foundation on June 3 will kick off “STCC GIVES,” a fundraising effort that seeks support for student programs and scholarships.

STCC GIVES presents an opportunity to help build scholarships to ensure that students have the support they need to succeed. All gifts made in June will be matched one to one.

“We are grateful for the support we have received over the years from our donors,” said Kelly Galanis, director of Operations & Donor Relations. “Whether you’ve donated in the past or you’re thinking of being a first-time donor, STCC GIVES is a perfect opportunity to help transform the lives of our students.”

STCC was named fourth-best community college in the nation by Academic Influence and has been named a top college by readers of multiple area publications.

Galanis said donors had many options to support students: making a gift online by visiting stccgives.com, texting ‘STCCGives’ to 50155, calling the STCC Foundation at (413) 755-4529, or mailing a donation to STCC Office of Advancement, One Armory Square, Springfield, MA 01105.

The STCC Foundation has set a goal of raising $10,000 for students to apply toward general support and programming. The Collins Companies will match the first $10,000 in gifts.

One student, Miranda Lebel, described how contributions helped her succeed. “STCC was tremendously helpful in my journey towards becoming a nurse. I found the community to be supportive, kind, and a champion of my success. I was honored to receive scholarships from the STCC Foundation, which made my education not just a dream, but a reality. The STCC community is filled with superheroes.”