North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation Awarded Workforce Development Grant

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) was awarded an $8,000 matching AMP it up! grant from MassDevelopment to support its efforts to respond to the region’s shortage of skilled workers in the manufacturing industry.  Working in partnership with Fitchburg State University, Mount Wachusett Community College, the region’s public schools, and local manufacturers, the NCMDC will utilize these funds to support its efforts to raise awareness of career paths in the advanced manufacturing field.

“We’re very excited about this opportunity to continue our efforts with our partners in the community and address the region’s workforce challenges,” stated Roy Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and its development arm the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation. “These are high skilled jobs that attract employers and serve as a gate way to the middle class for many people” he continued. “Ensuring the next generation is ready to fill these roles is absolutely essential.”

“There’s a stigma attached to these careers,” explained the NCMDC’s Public Affairs Manager, Christopher McDermott. “Peoples’ perception of the industry is largely based upon what it was a century ago. They don’t realize that careers in a modern facility involve far more skill and growth than they did before.”

The grant will be used to continue the momentum sustained from receiving this grant in previous years by continuing outreach to audiences that are not typically associated with careers in manufacturing and aims to target a new audience for a potential future workforce.

Outreach will highlight the exciting, technology-driven, well-paying career options in manufacturing, dispel common myths about the industry, and bolster the prospective employee base for these quality jobs with North Central Massachusetts companies.

MassDevelopment established the Advanced Manufacturing Program (AMP) to address the loss of skilled labor and knowledge that will arise as Baby Boomers leave the workforce. The problem is particularly acute in North Central Massachusetts, which is home to over 440 manufacturing firms and relies on this industry for roughly a quarter of its employment. Regionally, roughly 32% of those employed in manufacturing are over the age of 55, while 18 to 35 year olds rank manufacturing dead last among industries in which they would choose to begin a career.

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation remain committed to supporting and growing this critical sector of the region’s economy.

Leominster Salon Receives Micro-loan from North Central Mass Development Corp

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) granted a micro-loan to Sarah and Jacob Hawkins for $25,000 to assist with the purchase of Rituals Salon and Day Spa, an existing business located in Leominster.  Sarah has over 15 years of experience in the industry starting her career in San Diego before joining Rituals 11 years ago.  Rituals Salon, an Aveda Concept Salon, is conveniently located at 646 Central Street in Leominster and has been in business for over 17 years offering hair, nails, skin and massage services.

This loan was a gap loan in partnership with Workers Credit Union.  NewVue Communities assisted the new owners with a business plan and financial package.  For more information please visit www.ritualsspa.com.

As a microloan lender, NCMDC can provide loans to small businesses up to $150,000 for working capital, equipment, inventory, expansion and working with our banking partners to provide gap financing for the final piece of a project.

 The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) is a non-profit economic development corporation with the mission of creating jobs and improving the economy. NCMDC is certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Program. The NCMDC works in partnership with local banks, credit unions, chambers of commerce and area nonprofits to support emerging microenterprises, small businesses, and community projects in 76 communities in Worcester, Middlesex and Franklin Counties with loans and business assistance.  Since 1996, the NCMDC has granted over $6,000,000 in loans to small businesses to help grow jobs and the economy in the region

 For more information about the NCMDC loan programs, please call 978.353.7607.

Open Enrollment Has Begun

Open Enrollment period has begun!  You now have the opportunity to review and change your health insurance plan and add employees who have previously waived coverage.  You must finalize your alternative choice before April 30, 2018.  After May 1, 2018, off-anniversary downgrades are only available with 60 day advance notice. Please note some plans will have significant benefit changes effective April 1, 2018.  Intermediary Plan Changes document describe the benefit changes that go into effect on April 1, 2018.  These documents were mailed in late January.  Please share the information in these documents with all your benefit-eligible employees.  Some new options offer lower monthly premium rates for your business. Please contact the Chamber at 978.353.7600 ext. 227 with any questions or for more information

Scholarships Available through the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation is pleased to announce that applications for its 2018 Scholarship program are now being accepted.  Each year, the Chamber Foundation distributes approximately 25 scholarships to local high-achieving high school students in North Central Massachusetts.  Since the establishment of its scholarship program, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation has awarded over a million dollars in scholarships.

Students interested in applying for a 2018 scholarship through the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation should contact their high school guidance department to submit an application.  Deadline for applications is Friday, March 2, 2018.  A limited number of scholarship applicants are submitted by each school in the Chamber’s service area each year and then reviewed by a committee of Chamber members.

Many of these awards are made possible through contributions from members of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and proceeds from the Chamber’s Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament.  Scholarships endowed through the Chamber Foundation are often named in honor of prominent members of the North Central Massachusetts business community whose philanthropy and commitment to the community have helped shape North Central Massachusetts.

The Chamber’s Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization focused on assisting in the betterment of the region through charitable activities.  Funds raised by the Foundation are utilized primarily for education/workforce development initiatives and charitable activities in North Central Massachusetts, including scholarships to eligible applicants pursuing education and grants to support economic and community development projects.

For more information on the North Central Massachusetts Chamber Foundation’s scholarship program or a list of the named scholarships, please visit northcentralmass.com or call 978.353.7600 ext. 222.

 

AL ROSE TO CHAIR JOHNNY APPLESEED TRAIL ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Albert ‘Al’ Spaulding Rose II, owner and operator of Red Apple Farm has been elected Chairman of the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association (JATA) Board of Directors. The election was made at the association’s board meeting on December 5, 2017.

Mr. Rose is the fourth generation owner of Red Apple Farm located in Phillipston, Massachusetts. The 70 acre farm, established in 1912, focused primarily on growing apples commercially for the wholesale market under the care of Mr. Rose’s grandfather, A. Spaulding Rose.  In 1981, Mr. Rose’s father, William (Bill) Rose transitioned the farm away from wholesale, diversifying the farm’s business to focus more on retail and the pick-your-own fruit experience.

Mr. Rose and his wife Nancy took over the family business in 2001. Under their leadership the farm has continued to grow and become a major agritourism destination and employer for North Central Massachusetts. Red Apple Farm now has three locations: the Phillipston farm, at Wachusett Mountain, and in the City of Boston when they opened one of the largest stalls at Boston Public Market two years ago.  In addition to his involvement with the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association, Mr. Rose is also a member of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, the North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, the advisory board of Massachusetts Family Business Association, and is a past president of the Massachusetts Fruit Growers Association.  He earned a Masters of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University.

Mr. Rose has served on the JATA Board of Directors for several years and has held several leadership positions including Vice Chair and Marketing Committee Chair.  He has been a strong champion of the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association’s economic development efforts to market the region to visitors and groups.  As the Chair of the JATA Board of Directors, Mr. Rose will work with the Board, staff, membership and other stakeholders to champion JATA in its mission to market the region as a destination.

“I look forward to working with Al in his new position as Chairman of the Board,” said Roy Nascimento, president of JATA. “Al has proven himself to be a great leader and advocate for our cooperative marketing efforts to grow the tourism economy in North Central Massachusetts.”

He succeeds Suzanne Farias, former general manager of the Doubletree Hotel in Leominster.

“It is an honor and privilege to have been elected Chair of the Johnny Appleseed Trail Association, an organization that plays an important role in promoting North Central Massachusetts and has had an incredible impact in growing the economy locally,” expressed Mr. Rose, “I am excited to continue Suzanne Farias’s efforts and work to make sure that JATA remains a strong resource for local businesses and attractions.”

In the same election, Henry Tessman, general manager of Great Wolf Lodge New England was voted Vice-Chairman and Nikki Moorshead, owner of the Colonial Inn in Gardner and the Chocksett Inn in Sterling was elected to serve as a Director. Continuing current terms on the board are Rick Walton, president of the Gardner Ale House and Moon Hill Brewing and Tom Meyers, marketing director at Wachusett Ski Area.

 

 

Getting to Know Your Chamber

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce will host “Getting to Know Your Chamber” on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the Chamber’s main office, 860 South Street, Fitchburg, Ma 01420.  This presentation is designed to help new members navigate the perks and programs of Chamber membership, but is equally valuable for current members who want to get the most value from their membership, or those interested in learning if chamber membership is right for them.

Chamber staff will explain the many benefits and programs of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce including networking events, government affairs, educational workshops and seminars, advertising opportunities and health insurance, to name just a few.  There is no cost to attend the “Getting to Know Your Chamber” meeting, but pre-registration is required.  Register online at www.NorthCentralMass.com/news/calendar-of-events/.

Business owners unable to attend but interested in learning more about Chamber membership may contact or David Ginisi at 978.353.7600 x240 or by sending an email to dginisi@northcentralmass.com to schedule a one-to-one meeting.

HOMETOWN BANK COMMUNITY FOUNDATION CONTRIBUTES $15,000 TO NORTH CENTRAL MA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION’S ECONOMIC ADVANCEMENT FUND

Michael Hewitt, President of Hometown Bank Community Foundation announced a contribution of $15,000 to North Central MA Development Corporation (NCMDC).

NCMDC serves twenty six communities within Worcester, Middlesex and Franklin Counties focusing on micro-lending, creating jobs and operating small business workshops. Their recent efforts have helped create dozens of new businesses and helped dozens more grow thereby creating several hundred new jobs in local communities.

In celebration of NCMDC’s 30 years of service, they are launching an Economic Advancement Fund to help expand their economic development efforts. bankHometown has supported NCMDC for years and this recent $15,000 contribution from Hometown Bank Community Foundation will help support this new fund and NCMDC’s efforts to further job and business growth.

Christina DiRusso, bankHometown’s assistant vice president of commercial lending, is a member of NCMDC’s micro loan committee. She said “I see first-hand the number of businesses that are helped with counseling and micro loans.” She added that they are a valuable organization in their market as they “facilitate and connect businesses and help promote local businesses with events and press.”

bankHometown is headquartered in Oxford, Massachusetts and has $730 million in assets.  bankHometown has served its communities since 1889 and operates thirteen full service offices; eight in central Massachusetts and five located in northeastern Connecticut.

January Edition of Good Morning North Central Features Senator Dean Tran

The next edition of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber’s popular Good Morning North Central breakfast series is scheduled for Friday, January 12, 2018 from 6:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton, 99 Erdman Way, Leominster, MA.  The January edition is sponsored by Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School.

The Good Morning North Central series is a high-profile, fast-paced and educational breakfast program geared towards executives, senior managers, professionals and business owners.  Each of the programs has a business-oriented focus and features popular speakers to present on topics of interest to local businesses.

The featured speaker for the January edition is Senator Dean Tran. In his first Chamber event since winning the special election on December 5th, Senator Tran will be discussing his plans for supporting and advancing the North Central community.

Dean Tran was born in Saigon, Vietnam and emigrated with his family to the United States at the age of 4. In 1980, Dean and his family were sponsored by a Catholic priest in Clinton, Massachusetts where he called his first real home.  In 1986, his family relocated to Fitchburg, Massachusetts where he graduated from Fitchburg High School. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University. In 2005, Dean became the first person of color to be elected to the City Council in Fitchburg, Ma.  In 2017, Dean was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate as the first Vietnamese-American elected to the Massachusetts Legislature.

Scott Ellis from the Fitchburg Municipal Airport will also be presenting on the plans and extensions to one of North Central’s most important resources. Fitchburg Municipal Airport has a long history of supporting the North Central community, with the first flights taking off in 1929. In the last few years, the Airport has become an important part of the economic development of the community with the completion of the new terminal building and plans underway to extend the runway.

The cost is just $25 for Chamber members/$40 non-members and includes a breakfast buffet. Season Tickets are also available for purchase.  Pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, please contact the Chamber at 978.353.7600 ext. 235 or visit www.northcentralmass.com.

 

The Main Street Bank Charitable Foundation awarded The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation a $30,000 grant

The Main Street Bank Charitable Foundation awarded The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) a $30,000 grant for the Economic Advancement Fund to implement and expand the regional economic development program.

The NCMDC is the principle resource for the region in terms of economic development; lending and financing; and implementing a multi-faceted regional economic development strategy to enhance economic development services while expanding lending capacity to accommodate the region’s unique industry mix.

“We are very grateful to Main Street Bank for their support of our Economic Advancement Fund”, said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the NCMDC. “They have been a longstanding partner and this contribution demonstrates their continued confidence and commitment to our collective efforts to advance the economy in North Central Massachusetts.”

“Main Street Bank is proud to support the Economic Advancement Fund”, said Wally Dwyer, President of Main Street Bank. “We have enjoyed a long and mutually rewarding relationship with the North Central Mass Development Corporation.  We believe they are a valuable asset for our customers and our communities.”

North Central Mass Development Corp Makes Four Loans to Local Small Businesses

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) has recently granted four small business loans totaling $85,000 to Rituals Salon in Leominster, Angel Salon & Spa in Leominster, Hailey’s Takeout in Leominster, and Steel Strength and Nutrition in Worcester.  The loans enabled these businesses to expand their businesses, create eight jobs, and retain ten jobs.

NCMDC granted a loan to Sarah Hawkins, owner of Rituals Salon and Day Spa, for $25,000 to assist with the purchase of the preexisting business located at 646 Central Street, Leominster. Rituals Salon and Day Spa has been an Aveda Concept Salon for over 10 years. Offering hair, nails, skin and massage services. This loan was in partnership with Workers Credit Union and NewVue Communities.

Angelica Jimenez received a loan from NCMDC for $25,000 to assist with the startup costs associated with Angel Salon and Spa. This new business will be located at 875 Merriam Ave in Leominster. NCMDC partnered with Fidelity Bank and NewVue Communities for this loan.

NCMDC granted a loan to Henry Genao for $15,000 to assist with startup costs associated with opening Hailey’s Takeout. Hailey’s Takeout is located at 301 Lancaster Street in Leominster and is a Spanish-American Takeout Restaurant.

Lauren and Zack Rohacik, owners of Steel Strength and Nutrition, were approved by NCMDC for a loan of $20,000. This loan is to assist with the purchase of inventory and for marketing costs. Small Business Development also assisted Lauren and Zack with a business plan and financial package. Steel Strength and Nutrition is your friendly neighborhood retail supplement store for all of your vitamins, minerals, and clean sports nutrition needs, located at 458 Park Ave in Worcester.

 “Small businesses have proven to be the backbone of our economy, creating new jobs and investment and setting the stage for future economic growth for North Central Massachusetts,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation. “The NCMDC plays an important role in helping provide these small businesses and entrepreneurs with the financing and technical assistance that they need to grow and create new jobs.”

As an EDA Microloan lender, NCMDC can provide loans to small businesses up to $75,000 for working capital, equipment, inventory, expansion and working with our banking partners provide gap financing for the final piece of a project.

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC) is a non-profit corporation with the mission of creating jobs and improving the economy of North Central Massachusetts. NCMDC is certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Program. The NCMDC works in partnership with local banks, credit unions, chambers of commerce and area nonprofits to support emerging microenterprises, small businesses, and community projects with loans and business assistance.  Since 1996, the NCMDC has granted over $4,200,000 in loans to small businesses to help grow jobs and the economy in 26 communities in the North Central Massachusetts region.

 

For more information about the NCMDC loan programs, please call 978-353-7607.