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An architectural rendering of the Bentley Apartments, which the Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire plans to build as part of the 100 Bridge Street project in Great Barrington. Image courtesy Dietz and Company Architects Inc.

Business Briefs: CDCSB grant; participation designation for Berkshire Theatre Group; NPC Berkshires receives grant; grant for Berkshire Workforce Board; BCArc rebrand

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By Saturday, Jan 26, 2019 Trade and Commerce

CDCSB receives grant for Bentley Apartments

Great Barrington — The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston has awarded the Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire a $932,487 grant for Bentley Apartments at 100 Bridge Street. The award will be made through FHLB member Berkshire Bank and will support both the construction and the ongoing operations of the $17.5 million project. The FHLB award includes a $500,000 direct subsidy to be used for construction and $432,487 to subsidize the interest rate on the permanent mortgage.

The Bentley Apartment complex represents phase one of the CDCSB’s ongoing plans for 100 Bridge Street to create much-needed affordable homes and a boost for economic growth in Great Barrington. It will build 45 new affordable rental units and simultaneously remediate the entire 8-acre site along the Housatonic River in downtown Great Barrington. The new units will include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments for families with incomes of up to $49,000, offering rental apartments at significantly lower than market rates.

In July 2018, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development awarded approximately $15.3 million for Bentley Apartments. Construction and remediation are expected to begin in the summer of 2019. CDCSB’s co-sponsor for the project is Berkshire Housing Development Corporation and the other development team members are Dietz and Company Architects Inc. in Springfield and MBL Housing and Development in Amherst.


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Berkshire Theatre Group receives designation from Mass Cultural Council

Pittsfield — Berkshire Theatre Group has announced that it was the recipient of the Mass Cultural Council’s Universal Participation designation. The UP Initiative seeks to break down barriers that prevent civic participation in the cultural sector of Massachusetts.

Through the MCC Innovation and Learning Network and the UP designation, the goals of the UP Initiative are to support the growth and development of organizations that embrace inclusivity as core to their mission and recognize the power of design to anticipate and accommodate patrons, staff, volunteers and students. The designation provides peer networking, leadership platforms, access to grants, promotional opportunities, and professional development for organizations demonstrating inclusive practices.

BTG received the designation through providing training to the staff, board and volunteers about inclusion; engaging users and experts to steward institutional needs to facilitate program and policy development; and implementing innovative accessible practices.


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Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires receives grant from Berkshire Bank Foundation

Great Barrington — The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has received its first major program grant from Berkshire Bank Foundation. The funding will be used to support four core NPC programs in 2019: the Berkshire Nonprofit Awards, Berkshire Nonprofit Connections Magazine, board trainings for community members, and the annual Giving Back guide.

Liana Toscanini. Photo courtesy Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires

“Berkshire Bank’s support is significant for an entrepreneurial organization like the Nonprofit Center,” said NPC Berkshires founder Liana Toscanini. “This type of funding allows us to offer all of our services free or at very low cost to nonprofits. Since we serve hundreds of Berkshire nonprofits, this grant really goes a long way in supporting the sector.”

Berkshire Bank’s charitable foundation awards over $2 million annually to nonprofit organizations in the bank’s service area.


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Berkshire Workforce Board receives grant for manufacturing training program

Pittsfield — Berkshire Workforce Board has received a $178,000 grant to provide local manufacturing training through the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program Workforce Development Grant that will run from January through June 2019.

The grant will support the education and training of individuals entering the advanced manufacturing workforce in Berkshire County. The training will build upon the successes of previous workforce development grants that have been offered in health care and manufacturing. Seventy-five percent of fiscal year 2018 participants in this training have successfully gained employment in manufacturing companies.

The training programs will be provided by Berkshire Community College, McCann Technical School and Pittsfield Public Schools, which will offer Level 1 Certification based on the Massachusetts Manufacturing Advancement Center’s Workforce Innovation Collaborative framework, Introduction to Manufacturing, Basic Electricity and Electronics for Manufacturing, Welding, and Hydraulics in Manufacturing. The training will also present sessions in work readiness and realities in shift work, as well as introducing students to area manufacturers through on-site tours.


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Berkshire County Arc rebrands employment services division

Pittsfield — In the early 1990s, in order to market what was then a novel service model, Berkshire County Arc developed the brand name, Advantage Employee Network. AEN has grown and developed into one of the most successful programs of its type in Massachusetts, today serving over 150 individuals annually, including students from all school systems, and helping over 50 local businesses hire employees.

As the program has grown and morphed over the years, it has become better known as the employment services arm of Berkshire County Arc and, as such, is now being renamed Berkshire County Arc – Employment Services. The alignment of all services with the Berkshire County Arc name is intended to strengthen recognition and impact.


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