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The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, one of the many area businesses participating in Berkshire Community College's fast-track hospitality and culinary program. Photo courtesy Main Street Hospitality Group

Business Briefs: BCC hospitality, culinary program; Fairview acknowledged for excellence; Berkshire Blueprint 2.0; nurse practitioner publishes scholarly paper; new Salisbury Bank executive officers

By Thursday, Feb 28, 2019 Trade and Commerce 1

BCC to launch fast-track hospitality, culinary program

Pittsfield — Beginning Monday, March 18, Berkshire Community College’s fast-track hospitality and culinary program will launch a pilot of three new noncredit, part-time certificates taught by industry experts. The new program is designed to provide the skills and experience needed to address the acute shortage of service professionals in the region, and to elevate the Berkshire experience for both visitors and full-time residents. The certificates aim to support local economies as well as to cultivate and retain young talent in the Berkshires.

BCC’s Community Engagement, Education & Workforce Development team has been developing a comprehensive countywide plan to address hospitality needs in partnership with several key employers in the region. The certificates to be offered are:

  • Hospitality Core Skills (for front-of-house staff)
  • Culinary Core Skills (for back-of-house staff)
  • Hospitality Leadership (for rising managers)

During this grant-funded pilot initiative, fast-track program courses will be offered at no cost to enrolled students or interested employers, supported by a Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Training Resources and Internship Network grant. Upon coursework completion, students will be eligible to apply for paid internships to train with participating employers, furthering their skill sets and potential for permanent employment in the industry.

Instructors, who will teach practical classes and hands-on training at BCC’s main Pittsfield campus as well as its South County Center in Great Barrington, will include chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, hotel executives and operations managers from the Red Lion InnMezze Bistro and BarTOURISTS Welcome, Canyon Ranch, South Egremont Spirit Shoppe, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, Folklore Foods, Heirloom Fire, Custom Business Solutions, Organization Ink, RiseUp Leadership Coaching,1Berkshire and BCC.

The grant supports workforce development of the unemployed and underemployed and provides partial funding to support Berkshire Regional Transit Authority bus transportation to and from the BCC Pittsfield campus as well as child care reimbursement if needed. Employers are encouraged to recommend current and prospective staff members to attend. Local hospitality organizations interested in applying to become host sites for internships should contact workshops@berkshirecc.edu or (413) 236-2127 for more information.



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Fairview Hospital named a Top 100 critical access hospital

Fairview Hospital. Photo courtesy Berkshire Health Systems

Great Barrington — Fairview Hospital has been named one of the Top 100 critical access hospitals in the United States by the Chartis Center for Rural Health. Regarded as one of the industry’s most significant designations of performance excellence, the annual Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals Award is based upon the results of the iVantage Health Analytics Hospital Strength INDEX.

Hospitals recognized as Top 100 facilities scored in the top 100 among all critical access hospitals nationally. Now in its ninth year, the INDEX leverages 50 rural-relevant indicators across eight pillars of hospital strength (Inpatient Market Share, Outpatient Market Share, Cost, Charge, Quality, Outcomes, Patient Perspective and Financial Stability) to determine an overall score for each hospital. Each of the INDEX’s 50 indicators is culled from publicly available data sources.


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1Berkshire launches Berkshire Blueprint 2.0

Pittsfield — After two years of research, more than 100 interviews and thousands of hours of work, 1Berkshire has launched the Berkshire Blueprint 2.0. The initiative is a culmination of research and planning, with a forward-thinking approach to implementing a new strategic imperative across the Berkshires.

Facilitated by 1Berkshire, the Berkshire Blueprint 2.0 offers everyone and anyone in Berkshire County the opportunity and charge to engage in the region’s present and future economic development. In addition to examining the regional economy through a business cluster model and identifying actions targeted to confront cross-cutting challenges facing the Berkshires, the Berkshire Blueprint 2.0 provides the framework through which organizations and individuals can become stakeholders. With the initial five industry clusters of Advanced Manufacturing, Creative Economy, Food and Agriculture, Healthcare, and Hospitality and Tourism, the Blueprint aims to capitalize on the current momentum of core economic sectors in the region, while also recognizing opportunities for growth. This built-in agility allows the Blueprint 2.0’s ongoing work to incorporate future emergent industry clusters, engaging and activating them through the work of the Blueprint partnerships.

The process of researching and developing the Berkshire Blueprint 2.0 has revealed that the economic narrative of Berkshire County is no longer restricted to the challenges of its regional past. The new Berkshire narrative is about growth and opportunity, evidenced by significant recent investments. These investments are both private and public, as well as local and from outside the region, and equate to over $1 billion of regional investment since the beginning of 2016.

In addition to the new narrative and analysis of the initial industry clusters, the Blueprint 2.0 addresses the need to continue working on several cross-cutting challenges that impact the entirety of the Berkshire economic ecosystem. These include transportation access, workforce development, population loss, energy costs, broadband availability, and wage and financial sustainability. These threads run throughout and across the Berkshires and will require persistent stakeholder engagement from every corner of the region to accomplish meaningful change.


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CHP pediatric nurse practitioner publishes scholarly paper on teen asthma management

Gina Nickels-Nelson, MSN, FNP-BC. Photo courtesy Community Health Programs

Pittsfield — Community Health Programs nurse practitioner Gina Nickels-Nelson has published a scholarly paper focused on a modern approach to caring for adolescents and children with asthma.

Nickels-Nelson, who practices at CHP Berkshire Pediatrics, has authored “Adolescent ownership of asthma health: A concept analysis,” which is now published in the academic nursing journal Nursing Forum. Nickels-Nelson is a candidate for a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at the University of Texas at Tyler.

Her paper focuses on the concept of teaching patients “ownership” of their asthma, a chronic medical condition that impairs breathing and requires the use of inhalers for treatment. Patient “ownership” of health conditions is a newer concept in care and is readily applicable to a variety of chronic health conditions. Nickels-Nelson is already successfully using this new technique in her work with patients.


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Salisbury Bancorp Inc. announces appointment of executive officers

Amy D. Raymond. Photo courtesy Salisbury Bank

Lakeville, Conn. — Salisbury Bancorp Inc., the holding company for Salisbury Bank and Trust Company, has announced the appointment of a new executive officer of the bank and a change in title for an existing executive officer.

Elizabeth A. Summerville. Photo courtesy Salisbury Bank

Amy D. Raymond was named executive vice president, chief retail banking officer, CRA officer. Raymond has served as senior vice president, retail lending and commercial operations, CRA officer of the bank since April 2015. Prior to that, she served as senior vice president, retail lending and CRA officer of the bank from May 2014 to April 2015; and as vice president, mortgage origination from May 2007 to May 2014. Raymond holds a Bachelor of Science in business management from the University of New Haven. She has more than 18 years of experience in community banking.

Elizabeth A. Summerville was named executive vice president, chief retail and loan operations officer. Summerville has served as executive vice president, chief retail officer since May 2014. Prior to that, Summerville served as senior vice president, retail banking from January 2007 to May 2014. Summerville is a graduate of the American Bankers Association Compliance Management School and the New England School of Banking, and has received her American Institute of Banking applied banking certificate. She has more than 40 years of banking experience.


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