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    1. BusinessTalk with Judy Matt, president of the Spirit of Springfield

      BusinessTalk with Judy Matt, president of the Spirit of Springfield

      On this installment of BusinessTalk, BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien talks with Judy Matt, president of the Spirit of Springfield. The two have a lively discussion about the toll the pandemic has taken on this nonprofit and the many types of events it stages for the region, and how, if all goes well,  2021 could be a bounce back year for this important institution. They also talk about just how critical SOS events, like Bright Nights, the Fourth of July fireworks, the pancake breakfast, and the  Big Balloon Parade are to the quality of life in this region. It’s ...

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    2. Two STCC Professors Honored as Endowed Chairs for 2021

      Two STCC Professors Honored as Endowed Chairs for 2021

      Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) honored two faculty members as this year’s 2021 Endowed Chairs, awards named for two of the college’s founders. In a video sent to the STCC campus community, President John Cook congratulated this year’s recipients, Professors Ann-Marie Simao and Joshua Carreiro. Carreiro received the Anthony M. Scibelli Endowed Chair, and Simao received the Joseph J. Deliso Sr. Endowed Chair. They received a monetary award — $3,000 each — and wooden chairs with plaques inscribed with their names. They can apply $1,500 to professional development and $1,500 to their academic department.

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    3. Springfield College to Welcome Holocaust Survivor, Author, and Activist on April 8

      Springfield College to Welcome Holocaust Survivor, Author, and Activist on April 8

      Springfield College will welcome Holocaust survivor, author, and human-rights activist Marione Ingram on Thursday, April 8 from 4 to 6 p.m. This event is free and open to the college and local community. In this lecture, Ingram will share excerpts from her memoirs, The Hands of War and The Hands of Peace. She will discuss the failure to respond to fascism and racism in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, and the non-violent responses to those evils in the U.S. in the 1960s. She will then try to relate her experiences to the challenges that students face today.

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    4. Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Down Slightly in February

      Massachusetts Unemployment Rate Down Slightly in February

      The state’s total unemployment rate was down 0.7% in February at 7.1%, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts gained 14,100 jobs in February. This follows last month’s revised gain of 37,900 jobs. Over the month, the private sector added 22,300 jobs as gains occurred across all sectors, led by leisure and hospitality and professional, scientific, and business services.

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    5. Home City Development to Break Ground on Elias Brookings Apartments Today

      Home City Development to Break Ground on Elias Brookings Apartments Today

      Home City Development Inc. (HCDI) is celebrating the start of construction of the Elias Brookings Apartments. The groundbreaking will take place today, March 26, at 2 p.m. at 367 Hancock St. in Springfield. A small group of elected public officials will gather for the event, rain or shine. The event will include speakers and a short tour, and will be livestreamed to www.facebook.com/homecitydevelopment. A video of the event, including messages from funders and partners, will be widely circulated soon afterward.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    6. Massachusetts Black-owned Breweries Partner on HCC Scholarship Initiative

      Massachusetts Black-owned Breweries Partner on HCC Scholarship Initiative

      Out of some 8,000 breweries in the United States, only 60, or fewer than 1%, are black-owned businesses. In Massachusetts, which boasts more than 200 breweries, only about a half-dozen are black-owned. One of them is White Lion Brewery in Springfield. “The fabric of the craft-beer trade doesn’t mirror the fabric of the communities we work, play, and live in,” said Berry, White Lion’s owner and founder, who sits on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild.

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    7. Bay Path University Announces Fully Operational Campus for Fall 2021

      Bay Path University Announces Fully Operational Campus for Fall 2021

      Bay Path University announced plans to welcome students back to a fully operational, in-person campus for the fall 2021 semester. This decision is based on the increase and availability of COVID-19 vaccines, the continued decline in COVID cases, and the steps put in place at Bay Path over the past year to keep the campus safe. The university will continue to follow guidelines, take precautions, and prepare with all necessary contingencies for reopening as guided by the CDC and state requirements.

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    8. Square One Names Melissa Blissett Vice President of Family Support Services

      Square One Names Melissa Blissett Vice President of Family Support Services

      Square One announced the promotion of Melissa Blissett to vice president of Family Support Services. A native of Springfield, Blissett joined Square One in 2014 as a Springfield College School of Social Work intern. Upon graduation in 2015, she joined the agency’s Healthy Families and Supervised Visitation programs. In 2017, she went to work as a Child and Family Law Division social worker for the Committee for Public Council Services in Springfield. In 2018, she returned to Square One as assistant vice president of Family Services.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    9. West Springfield Drive-In to Open April 23 on Big E Fairgrounds

      West Springfield Drive-In to Open April 23 on Big E Fairgrounds

      West Springfield Drive-In, in partnership with Eastern States Exposition, will open on Friday, April 23 on the Big E Fairgrounds. The drive-in will feature two 45’ by 60’ screens and be able to accommodate 300 cars each, in a safe and socially distant family experience. The drive-in, to be located in the Gate 9 parking area, is authorized to show new-release content, once available, as well as special livestream concerts and other events.

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    10. Springfield College Organizations Donate Fire-safety Kits, Incentive Kits to Schools

      Springfield College Organizations Donate Fire-safety Kits, Incentive Kits to Schools

      The Springfield College Center for Service and Leadership and the Humanics in Action Club recently delivered more than 200 fire-safety kits to Rebecca M. Johnson Elementary School, and 100 incentive kits to both Elias Brookings Elementary School and William N. DeBerry Elementary School. The fire-safety kits include washcloths, emergency whistles, water bottles, granola bars, a face mask, soap, a toothbrush, and toothpaste, as well as donated items from the Springfield Fire Department, including a fire hat and a fire-safety booklet. The intention behind the fire-safety kits is that, in an emergency, the kids could grab the bag and have emergency ...

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      Mentions: Springfield
    11. Cooley Dickinson Hospital Receives $30,000 Gift to Support Childbirth Center

      Cooley Dickinson Hospital Receives $30,000 Gift to Support Childbirth Center

      Cooley Dickinson Hospital received a $30,000 gift from Thomson Financial Management to support the Childbirth Center project, which, when completed, will offer expanded services in a newly renovated space that includes an upgraded nursery, birthing tubs, and more home-like surroundings for moms and babies.

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    12. When Will Employees Come Back to the Office? And Should They? - BusinessWest

      When Will Employees Come Back to the Office? And Should They? - BusinessWest

      Most of Big Y’s 11,000 employees — those who stock shelves, prepare food, work the cashier lines, and do any number of other tasks — must do their jobs on site, in a specific location. But at Big Y’s 300-employee-strong customer-support center in Springfield, which supports those frontline workers, about 70% of them have worked remotely since the start of the pandemic.  “This past year, we learned that remote work can work, and it allows for a lot of flexibility for individuals,” said Michael Galat, vice president of Employee Services at the supermarket chain.

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    13. BusinessTalk with Mark Melnik

      BusinessTalk with Mark Melnik

      BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien talks with Mark Melnik, director of economic and public policy research at the UMass Donahue Institute in Amherst.  The two have a lively discussion about everything from recent data on how many people are leaving the state — and why — to the ongoing economic recovery, the shape it will take, and the many factors that will drive it. It’s must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest in partnership with Living Local.

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    14. State Senate Passes COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave - BusinessWest

      State Senate Passes COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave - BusinessWest

      Ten weeks after Senate President Karen Spilka promised swift action on COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave, the Massachusetts State Senate passed a comprehensive bill that would guarantee five paid days off for every employee in the Commonwealth. The bill also seeks to stabilize the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) trust fund, provides tax relief to businesses and workers, and delays the state tax-filing deadline.

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    15. STCC Ranked Second-most-popular Online Business Degree in New England

      STCC Ranked Second-most-popular Online Business Degree in New England

      Springfield Technical Community College’s (STCC) online business degree program was ranked as the second-most-popular in the New England region, according to Business Degree Central, an online resource for students. The website ranked STCC’s program second out of 11 colleges in New England. The business program was also ranked second-most-popular in Massachusetts.

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    16. West Side Story Is One of Continued Progress - BusinessWest

      West Side Story Is One of Continued Progress - BusinessWest

      When Tyler Saremi looks at what is considered downtown West Springfield — the Elm Street/Park Street area — he doesn’t see Northampton or West Hartford.  But he can easily imagine a day when that section of this city that still calls itself a town can attain something approaching a level of vibrancy and an eclectic mix of businesses, especially those in the hospitality sector, that define those communities.

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    17. State Announces Transition to Phase 4 of Reopening Plan

      State Announces Transition to Phase 4 of Reopening Plan

      The Baker-Polito administration announced that Massachusetts will advance to step 1 of phase 4 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan on Monday, March 22. The administration continues to take steps to reopen the Commonwealth’s economy with public-health metrics continuing to trend in a positive direction. This includes drops in average daily COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The administration also replaced the Massachusetts travel order originally issued in July 2020 with a travel advisory, also effective March 22.

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    18. Western New England University Plans to Host Unrestricted In-person Classes This Fall

      Western New England University Plans to Host Unrestricted In-person Classes This Fall

      After successfully holding classes primarily on campus under stringent COVID-19 safety protocols throughout the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, Western New England University (WNEU) announced plans to return to unrestricted in-person learning for the fall of 2021. The announcement was made by WNEU President Robert Johnson in a letter to the campus community on March 16. Of the roughly 3,000 colleges and universities tracked by the College Crisis Initiative, Western New England University was one of just 27% of schools nationwide that resumed primarily in-person teaching last fall that continued throughout the spring through careful adherence to ...

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    19. UMass President Marty Meehan to Recommend Tuition Freeze for Second Straight Year

      UMass President Marty Meehan to Recommend Tuition Freeze for Second Straight Year

      University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan announced he will recommend that the university’s board of trustees freeze tuition for in-state undergraduates for the academic year beginning in September. If approved by the UMass board, this would be the second straight year of a tuition freeze at the Commonwealth’s 75,000-student national public research university system.

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    20. Join Us as We Celebrate the Difference Makers Virtually on April 1

      Join Us as We Celebrate the Difference Makers Virtually on April 1

      Since 2009, BusinessWest has been recognizing the work of individuals, groups, businesses, and institutions through a program called Difference Makers. The 2021 Difference Makers include Kristin Carlson, president of Peerless Precision; EforAll Holyoke; Janine Fondon, founder of UnityFirst.com and professor at Bay Path University; Harold Grinspoon, philanthropist and founder of Aspen Square Management; Chad Moir, founder and owner of DopaFit Parkinson’s Movement Center; Bill Parks, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Westfield; and Pete Westover, founder and partner at Conservation Works, LLC.

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    21. COVID-19 Takes Significant Toll on Women in the Workforce

      COVID-19 Takes Significant Toll on Women in the Workforce

      In 2020, the same year a record number of women were elected to Congress and the first woman was elected vice president, COVID-19 had a devastating and potentially permanent impact on women in the workforce. The percentage of women participating in the U.S. labor market in October 2020 was the lowest since 1988, and of the 9.8 million jobs that have not yet returned, 55% belong to women. In one year, COVID-19 wiped out a generation of progress and put the precariousness of being a woman in the modern American workplace into stark perspective.

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