Port of New Bedford. Photo courtesy of New Bedford…
Governor Baker announces budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018
(Photo courtesy of State House News) The Baker-Polito Administration filed its Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget proposal on January 25, 2017. The $40.508 billion spending plan funds key priorities including local aid, education, workforce development, housing and homelessness services, and substance misuse prevention programs, while keeping spending in line with recurring revenues and does not raise taxes. See video on the budget proposal, with comments by Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Kristen Lepore, Secretary of Administration and Finance. “This budget reaffirms our commitment to the hardworking people of the Commonwealth to propose a balanced budget that significantly invests in education, workforce development and funds to fight the opioid epidemic—without raising taxes,” said Governor Baker. “While practicing fiscal discipline and reining in spending, we are also pleased to introduce new initiatives like the ‘Learn to Earn’ program to shrink the unemployment and underemployment gap in our state and a $4,000 tax-credit for employers hiring an unemployed veteran. I look forward to working with our colleagues in the legislature so that we can all make Massachusetts a better place to live, work, and raise a family.” Read more information on the Governor’s filing letter, budget message and specific account informmation.
Governor Baker Delivers Second State of the Commonwealth Address
This week, Governor Charlie Baker delivered his second State of the Commonwealth address from the House Chamber of the Massachusetts State House. Members of the audience included Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo, Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, members of the House and Senate, state officers, business leaders and community groups. “Our economy is among the strongest in the nation,“ Governor Baker told the assembled guests. “Over the past two years we’ve added 120,000 jobs. Today more people are working than at any time in the past 20 years. The companies of the future are moving to Massachusetts, bringing millions in private investment, while new companies are born here every day. In fact, for the second year in a row, Bloomberg named Massachusetts the #1 state for innovation. “It’s not an accident that Massachusetts is such an attractive place to do business. It’s a reflection of the quality of our people and the business climate we’ve created,” he said. Governor Baker also spoke about the progress being made on energy in Massachusetts. “Together, we passed landmark legislation that will reduce our carbon footprint while maintaining a competitively priced and reliable supply of energy. And we’ve built on those efforts by issuing an Executive Order on Climate Change that directs state government to work with local governments, business, and non-profits to develop plans to further protect our environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” In terms of making government more efficient and more accessible to businesses and citizens in Massachusetts, Governor Baker said, “We’ve reviewed, updated and eliminated thousands of pages of outdated and obsolete state regulations, which has reduced red tape and made it easier for employers, non-profits and cities and towns to do their jobs.” Governor Baker also talked about Massachusetts’ innovation economy and its global reputation in technology, health and the life sciences. “We all know the world is becoming more and more dependent on technology. Smart buildings. Smarter machines. Robotics. Autonomous vehicles. Digital health. Precision manufacturing. And big data to name a few,” Baker said. “These are the platforms of the next generation of great companies and new jobs. And cyber security that moves as fast as the hackers, thieves and troublemakers is what makes this all possible. Success in protecting databases and smart machines will ensure that people benefit from the best ideas in science, engineering and technology for decades to come. Baker called Massachusetts “one of the three most important players in cyber security in the world,” and said the industry is just taking off. “Hundreds of billions of dollars will be spent over the next decade to protect information and assets. Massachusetts’ organizations should play a major role in driving these decisions. Over the next ten months we’ll bring together the best minds locally and globally to develop a blueprint for success here in Massachusetts. And we will follow it.” Finally, the governor praised the veterans of Massachusetts but noted that “too many of our returning heroes struggle to find good jobs. So we’ll be proposing a $4,000 tax credit for businesses hiring and retaining an unemployed veteran.” Here is the full text of Governor Baker’s address.
Massachusetts Senate Hosting Commonwealth Conversations 2017
The Massachusetts Senate is hosting its annual Commonwealth Conversations, a state wide listening tour of grassroots forums designed to connect state legislators directly with constituents to hear their ideas, concerns and suggestions. The series kicks off on Tuesday, January 31 in the Metro Boston region, and continues through Tuesday, April 11 in the North Shore region. See full schedule below. The Massachusetts State Senate is “bringing Beacon Hill to you with Commonwealth Conversations 2017,” said Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, who called the initiative “part of the next step in our ongoing efforts to make your government even more responsive and accessible to you.” Here is a schedule of the upcoming forums: Date Region January 31 Metro Boston February 7 South Coast February 28 South Shore March 7 Southeast March 14 Central Mass March 21 Northeast March 28 Western Mass April 4 MetroWest April 11 North Shore
Moby-Dick Marathon Celebrates Literary & Maritime Traditions of Massachusetts
The 21st annual Moby-Dick Marathon is taking place this weekend at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The annual readthon is a tribute to Herman Melville’s classic novel about the whaling industry that thrived in New Bedford, Fall River, Nantucket and other seaports in the 19th Century. You can view the reading streaming live here. The annual reading takes place over 25 hours and attracts over 2,500 guests and participants. In addition to celebrating Melville’s literary masterpiece, the Moby-Dick Marathon also raises funds and awareness for the New Bedford Whaling Museum, which provides year round educational programs for school children while also serving as a major tourist attraction for the City of New Bedford and for the Southeastern Massachusetts region, according to Dagny Ashley, director of Destination New Bedford. In addition to English, other languages included in this year’s marathon included Hebrew, German, French, Dutch, Italian and various others. The 22nd Moby-Dick Marathon is scheduled to take place on January 6-7, 2018. Read more about the New Bedford Whaling Museum, which is part of the The New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park founded in 1996. Here are other Herman Melville references throughout Massachusetts. To learn more about visiting Massachusetts, check out the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism’s web site MassVacation.com.
In Boston, Chinese Pop Star Connects East and West Culture
International music star Leehom Wang, known as the King of Chinese Pop, returned to his musical roots in Boston recently for a spectacular performance of his classic songs at Boston Symphony Hall. A 1999 alumnus of the Berklee College of Music, Leehom invited onstage with him an international cast of student musicians from Berklee for the performance. With over 60 million social media followers, Leehom has won numerous music awards, including multiple Golden Melody Awards in Taiwan, comparable to the Grammy Awards in U.S. From Tony Bennett to Westlife and Aviici, Leehom has expanded his popularity across the globe by collaborating with world-renowned musicians. What drives this singer-songwriter, music producer, actor, film director, and cultural ambassador back to Berklee? It is Leehom’s enduring commitment to connecting people from different cultures through music and his mission of helping aspiring Chinese musicians realize their musical dreams. “One of the most important things for the safety and security of the century is the relationship between the east and west, and Leehom is the ambassador who can help us build that,” said Roger H. Brown, president of Berklee College of Music, who awarded Mr. Wang an honorary Doctor of Music degree in recognition of his achievements. In the acceptance speech, Leehom confessed, “That’s why we make music – to connect people.” He encouraged all of the Chinese music lovers and future musicians to be ambassadors and to build bridges between the east and west. To help make that a reality, Leehom and Berklee have created a full scholarship in Wang Leehom’s name for Chinese students to attend Berklee, with part of the proceeds from the concert going to the scholarship foundation. The scholarship will be presented next year in China. Since graduating from Berklee, Leehom has committed himself to transforming the landscape of China’s pop music with his hybrid blending of pop, rock, jazz, R&B, hip-hop, classical and traditional Chinese melodies. No doubt, Berklee’s long history of working with diverse musical traditions from cultures all over the world partly inspired Leehom’s genre-hopping creation. “He’s a strong role model for our students – in him we see the possibilities for young, international musicians who come to Berklee, gain the tools and skills they need, and return to their roots, enriching the world and its music,” said Matthew Nicholl, associate vice president for Global Studies. Berklee has been a destination for international musicians since its founding in 1945. Today, nearly 36% of all Berklee students are from outside the U.S. With over 100 colleges and universities, Massachusetts is considered a global hub of top-tier education, attracting students from around the world. The Berklee College of Music, which has alumni from over 40 countries, is a place where aspiring musicians can explore opportunities and possibilities here in Massachusetts, just like Leehom Wang did.
Massachusetts Issues Thanksgiving Day Proclamation
Commonwealth of Massachusetts A Proclamation His Excellency Governor Charles D. Baker Whereas After the first harvest in 1621, the Pilgrims gathered with their neighbors, the Wampanoag Native Americans, broke bread, gave thanks and celebrated their freedom in Plymouth, observing the first Thanksgiving in the American colonies; and Whereas During the American Revolution in November 1777, the Continental Congress proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving. Samuel Adams, a son of Massachusetts, wrote, “…for solemn thanksgiving and praise, that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor”; and Whereas With the country torn by a civil war, Abraham Lincoln urged his fellow Americans to gather and give thanks during one of the most difficult times of our nation’s history. Establishing Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1864, Lincoln wrote, “To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God”; and Whereas In this season of thanks, we should take the time to remember and reach out to our neighbors in need, by providing a helping hand, working in a food pantry or kitchen, donating clothing or volunteering in our communities; and Whereas Today as families and friends across the Commonwealth and country gather together, may we be mindful of our gifts and talents, our blessings, relationships and goodwill, the peace we enjoy, the liberty we cherish and the hope we have for a joyful year ahead, Now, Therefore, I, Charles D. Baker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, do hereby proclaim November 24th, 2016, to be, Thanksgiving Day And urge all the citizens of the Commonwealth to take cognizance of this event and participate fittingly in its observance. Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston, this first Day of November, in the year two thousand and sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the two hundred and fortieth. By His Excellency Charles D. Baker Governor of the Commonwealth Karyn E. Polito Lt. Governor of the Commonwealth William Francis Galvin Secretary of the Commonwealth
National Parks Service Celebrates 100th Anniversary
Today, Massachusetts joined other states across the nation in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. A special birthday party, complete with a cake, balloons, children’s activities and live music, was held at Columbus Park in Boston, overlooking the Boston Harbor Islands. Michael Creasey, Superintendent of National Parks Boston, welcomed hundreds of spectators to mark the occasion with a giant birthday cake, speeches by public officials and assorted free games for families and children on the park lawn. Park advocates also handed out informational materials on the state’s parks, historical landmarks and preserved spaces. Joining Superintendent Creasey at the podium were US Senator Ed Markey, US Congressmen Mike Capuano and Stephen Lynch, Massachusetts Energy and Environment Secretary Matt Beaton and City of Boston Policy Director Joyce T. Linehan. Secretary Beaton read a citation from the Baker-Polito Administration congratulating the National Park Service on its century-long stewardship. Also attending the ceremony were Nam Pham Assistant Secretary of Business Development, Francois-Laurent Nivaud, Executive Director of the Mass Office of Travel & Tourism and Pat Moscaritolo, Executive Director & CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. After the speaking portion, the US Postal service unveiled its commemorative stamps in honor of the National Park Service centennial. And musicians from the Berklee College of Music led the crowd in a Happy Birthday song, then entertained for the afternoon. Massachusetts is proud to have 14 National Parks throughout the Commonwealth. Here is a list of free activities in the Boston National Parks over the next three days. Nationwide, the National Park Service is offering free admission to all 413 parks across the country (from August 25-28).
Massachusetts Expands Apprenticeship Opportunities
Photo courtesy of Greater Boston JACT Last week the Baker-Polito Administration’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced $200,000 in grant funding to expand and diversify apprenticeship opportunities and strengthen existing programs in Massachusetts. The funds came from the ApprenticeshipUSA State Accelerator Grant, issued by the United States Department of Labor (DOL). Governor Charlie Baker said the funding allows Massachusetts “to prepare a pipeline of skilled workers for future employment. Ensuring that our strong and skilled workforce continues to develop and succeed results in a prospering economic environment across the Commonwealth.” The grant enables the Massachusetts Apprenticeship Initiative to expand opportunities to other areas of the state, new industries, occupations and additional employers. The Initiative is a collaboration of 50 businesses, the state Department of Career Services, Division of Apprentice Standards, the Massachusetts Community Colleges Executive Office, the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative, and six local workforce development boards. Under DOL requirements, all registered apprenticeship programs must include five components – on-the-job training, direct business involvement, related instruction, rewards for skill gains, and a national occupational credential. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said, “As our state’s economy continues to grow, apprenticeships will play an increasingly important role in training individuals for job openings now and into the future, and supporting job growth and economic development across Massachusetts.” The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, through the Department of Career Services and Division of Apprentice Standards, will build upon partnerships in an effort to expand the number of employers with apprenticeship programs. Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald L. Walker, II said. The funding allows the Commonwealth to “create more strategic partnerships in industries that already employ apprentices, while also reaching out to nontraditional industries for apprenticeship opportunities such as IT, healthcare, cyber-security, advanced manufacturing and others.” According to the US Department of Labor, “Apprenticeships are a proven path to high quality, secure middle-class jobs. In fact, 87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs, with an average starting wage above $50,000 per year.”
Massachusetts Celebrates the Great Outdoors in June
(Photo: Governor Baker at 2016 Capital Campout at Fort Independence) Today, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is declaring June as Great Outdoors Month in Massachusetts. See the Governor’s proclamation below. Governor Baker and First Lady Lauren Baker are participating in the second annual Capital Campout at Fort Independence at Castle Island in South Boston. They’re joined by Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Leo Roy, and fourth grade students from the Franklin D. Roosevelt School in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood. This event is meant to highlight support for the Massachusetts State Parks and demonstrate the importance of active and healthy outdoor, community-building activities for Massachusetts children. “Introducing kids and adults to new recreational opportunities…is important to inspire families to learn about new places and engage in new experiences together to share adventures that will last a lifetime,” the proclamation reads. The Capital Campout program is a national initiative that targets youth with little exposure to America’s outdoor legacy and helps to increase visitation at parks. At Independence Park, Governor and Mrs. Baker will participate with the students and their families in learning camping skills. They will camp out overnight, setting up tents, building a campfire and cooking over it. The event includes fun activities such as a group campfire, storytelling, singing, games and a tour of the fort. In 2015, Massachusetts created a Public Service Announcement (PSA) Video that launched Great Outdoors Month. The video was selected by the American Recreation Coalition and The Coleman Company as one of five national video winners to receive $1,000 grant, which Governor Baker is giving to All Out Adventures, a non-profit organization that provides recreation program for people of all abilities, including individuals with disabilities and their families, often in Massachusetts state park facilities. Below is a copy of the Great Outdoors Month Proclamation
Massachusetts Strikes the Right Chord for International Musicians
Returning to his small, rented apartment in Boston, Xuefei Cheng turns on his CD player to enjoy his favorite jazz performer, Hiromi Uehara, a Japanese-born, Berklee-trained jazz composer and pianist whose music encompasses the elements of classical music, rock and jazz. As a first year Master’s student majoring in clarinet at Boston University, Xuefei spends most of his leisure time enjoying or playing jazz, even though his academic concentration is classical music. Cheng’s passion for clarinet started a decade ago when he heard a clarinet piece in a Harry Potter movie. The instrument’s distinct sound lingered in his mind and drove him to take up music. When studying classical clarinet at Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music, he was officially introduced to jazz. “Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin is the first song that exposed me to the beauty of jazz clarinet, and I’ve been obsessed with jazz ever since,” says Xuefei. “For me, classical music is suitable for the weekdays when you are restrained and stressed out by work, whereas jazz is like the weekend when you can lay back and be relaxed.” In college, Xuefei was a frequent guest at top-tier, jazz concerts at Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing. He also frequented the East Shore Bar in the Houhai neighborhood in Beijing, where China’s top jazz artists played. By then he had joined a jazz club at school and was performing weekly. Upon graduating from the Conservatory, Cheng studied with John Bruce Yeh, the assistant principle clarinet at Chicago Symphony Orchestra, then came to Boston University to further his studies. He describes Boston as “a hub of education and a city saturated with diligence and passion,” and the best place for him to advance his performing skills. “Boston is definitely the ideal place to learn classical music, but what’s special about this city is that it embraces diversity, just like Hiromi’s music,” he says. “Jazz will always be an indispensable part of my life, and with the skills accumulated through the study and practices of classical music, I can fuel my passion for jazz more freely and easily.” Like Xuefei, a growing number of international students are coming to Massachusetts to explore their educational and career life in music in recent years. A variety of top-tier music institutes, world-known Symphony Orchestras, and a diverse music genres all convene together in MA to provide unlimited possibilities for musicians and music lovers from around the world.
Congrats to 2016 College Graduates in Massachusetts
Photo: 2016 Undergraduate Commencement at UMass Amherst Spring is a time to celebrate in Massachusetts each year as over 100,000 students graduate from 110 public and private college and universities. Here is a list of the 2016_Commencement Dates _ Speakers_. And it is a time for the Commonwealth to take pride in its world renowned higher education system, which helps drive Massachusetts’ economy. According to the US Census, 46.1% of Massachusetts residents hold a bachelor, master or doctorate degree, the highest percentile in the United States. The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts (AICUM) reports that Massachusetts ranks first in the nation in percentage of students graduating from independent colleges in four years. Independent schools have a $25 billion annual economic impact on Massachusetts. In addition to the private colleges, Massachusetts serves about 260,000 students at 29 public schools including 15 community colleges, nine state universities and five University of Massachusetts campuses, according to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. Here is a full list of Massachusetts’ public colleges and universities. The college commencement season is also a boost for the Massachusetts economy, since it attracts 350,000 people, mainly family and friends, to the Commonwealth, according to the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB). These visitors generate roughly 100,000 hotel room nights, 500,000 meals at local restaurants, and spend about $90 million. The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism has compiled a list of all colleges and universities in Massachusetts, separated by region. You’ll find information about the schools, and also valuable information about local transportation, seasonal activities, and special events that give you a flavor of each school. It’s a great resource for parents making their first trip to Massachusetts to explore potential colleges and universities for their children.
PaxEast 2016 Taps into Massachusetts Creative & Innovation Economies
At first glance, this year’s annual PaxEast 2016 gathering at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in South Boston resembled a gigantic costume ball, replete with fictional and virtual characters from video games, movies, comic books and the far reaches of someone’s imagination. Massachusetts has a stake in the $67 billion gaming industry, which helps to fuel the state’s creative industries and innovation economy. Tens of thousands of gamers, investors, retailers and experts attend PaxEast each year, supporting the local tourism and hospitality industries. PaxEast is also a valuable stage for aspiring entrepreneurs and game developers to find a ready audience to view new products. One of the most popular elements of the show is the Pax East Indie Showcase, described as “a collection of the best indie games you’ve never heard of available on mobile platforms.” Timothy Loew, executive director of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDigi) noted the top local video game companies on the Expo Hall floor, included Harmonix, Proletariat, The Deep End Games and The Molasses Flood among a number of others. Numerous Massachusetts schools exhibited, including Becker College in Worcester; Elms College in Chicopee, Mount Ida College in Newton and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). “Each year the Boston-area game scene, like PAX East, gets bigger and more exciting,” Lowe says. “With more people playing more games on more devices in more places than ever before, I already can’t wait until the next PaxEast in 2017.” To learn more about the state’s Video Gaming opportunities, contact Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDigi). Here is a schedule of upcoming conventions in Massachusetts. For information about visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com.
MassEcon Event Welcomes New Companies from Around the World
Photo Caption: MassEcon hosts Corporate Welcome Reception at Genzyme for 19 companies new to Massachusetts. Company leaders are pictured with Governor Charlie Baker, EOHED Secretary Jay Ash and MassEcon Executive Director, Susan Houston. Photo by Janet Stearns. This week MassEcon held its 8th annual Corporate Welcome Reception at Sanofi Genzyme headquarters in Kendall Square, Cambridge. Over 100 private sector leaders and senior state officials, including Governor Charlie Baker, were on hand to welcome the representatives from thirteen companies and six airlines to Massachusetts. The sector and geographical diversity of the group speaks to all that Massachusetts has to offer to companies seeking a foothold in the state’s innovation economy. The new companies represent a wide variety of industries including life sciences, education, energy, manufacturing, online retail and transportation. And they come from all parts of the United States and the world. International companies originating from Canada, Israel, Mexico, Norway, Sweden,Turkey and the United Kingdom were represented along with domestic companies with corporate origins in California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kansas, New York and Washington. In his welcoming remarks, Governor Baker said, “Massachusetts’ innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, talented workforce and commitment to success has put the Commonwealth on the map as a place for businesses to grow and thrive. As we continue to build partnerships with our communities and the private sector, we welcome these companies from around the nation and the globe and look forward to the opportunity to encourage more businesses to call Massachusetts home, create jobs and bolster our economy.” According to MassEcon, the companies are adding 1,600 new jobs to the Commonwealth. MassEcon Chairman Brian Cohen said the companies at the event “represent impressive additions to the Commonwealth’s business community, and we look forward to their having a productive, successful, and long-standing relationship with the Commonwealth.” The 13 companies include Amazon in Fall River; Applied Photophysics in Beverly; Avigilon in Somerville; Olink Bioscience in Watertown; Sunrun in Marlborough; ERD Metal in Avon; Eli Lilly, IBM Watson Health, Philips, and WuXi AppTec in Cambridge; and General Electric, Harmon.ie, and LEGO Education in Boston. In addition, six international airlines that have recently launched non-stop flights to and from Boston’s Logan International Airport were among the honorees. They include AeroMexico; El Al Israel Airlines; Norwegian Air Shuttle; Qatar Airways; Scandinavian Airlines and WestJet Airlines. MassEcon Executive Director Susan Houston said the popular annual event “is our way of saying thank you for choosing the Commonwealth. It is also an opportunity for us to connect these companies with the robust network of resources Massachusetts has to offer.” MassEcon is a private non-profit entity that serves as the state’s private sector partner in promoting Massachusetts as the premier choice for business growth.
Governor Baker Addresses the National Society of Black Engineers in Boston
Governor Charlie Baker gave a welcoming address to the National Society of Black Engineers conference at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on Thursday, March 24, 2016. This is the 42nd annual conference of the NSBE, which draws over 11,000 delegates from across the country and around the world. The theme of this year’s conference is “Engineering a Cultural Change.” Here is a full BSBE conference agenda for the week. In his welcoming remarks, Governor Baker, said, “It is very special for us that you chose Massachusetts, as we do consider ourselves to be a national leader in education, engineering, science and medicine.” In Massachusetts, Baker said, “We basically live by our wits, that’s always been what’s made us special and what’s made us great. In this day and age, when competition is global and everybody is competing, having an edge with respect to talent and education and what I would call capacity to play makes an enormous difference.” Video Courtesy of Antonio Caban/State House News Service Here is a schedule of upcoming professional conferences and meetings taking place in Massachusetts.
MASSACHUSETTS PARTICIPATES IN 2016 NATIONAL CONSUMER PROTECTION WEEK
As part of National Consumer Protection Week, which takes place March 6-12, 2016, the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is proud to announce its efforts on behalf of the Commonwealth’s consumers over the last year. In 2015, the Office of Consumer Affairs and its five regulatory agencies received more than 44,000 inquiries and more than 6,100 formal complaints from consumers. Through complaint resolutions, arbitration awards, examination reimbursements, and litigation settlements, nearly $7 million was returned to Massachusetts consumers. John Chapman, Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs, said, “During this National Consumer Protection Week, we want consumers to understand their rights under the law, take time to educate themselves before making big decisions, and know that both our Office and our regulatory agencies are in their corner to ensure their rights and fair marketplaces.” The Office of Consumer Affairs Home Improvement Contractor program made significant strides in 2015, registering 3,600 new contractors and renewing nearly 9,000 contractor registrations. The Home Improvement Arbitration Program awarded more than $330,000 to consumers and the Home Improvement Contractor Guaranty Fund paid-out more than $215,000 to aggrieved consumers. “Our Office is engaged in a full-on effort to get all home improvement contractors registered in the Commonwealth,” said Chapman. “Ultimately, it’s a tremendous consumer protection, because consumers who hire unregistered contractors cannot qualify for the arbitration program or access the Guaranty Fund if they have problems with their contractors.” Other Notable Consumer Recoveries: • Banking – $1.2M • Insurance – $724,000 • Lemon Law – $253,000 • Telecommunications & Cable – $1.08M (includes $900,000 consumer refund for Charter Communications subscribers) • Weights & Measures – $765,000 In October, the Division of Banks and the Office of the Attorney General reached a settlement with Western Sky Financial, LLC and CashCall over predatory lending practices. The settlement provides for $2.4 million in direct consumer refunds and a $17 million write-down in the interest on loans made to Massachusetts consumers. As part of the Baker-Polito Administraion, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education, and also works to ensure that the businesses its agencies regulate treat all Massachusetts consumers fairly. Follow the Office of Consumer Affairs through its blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter @mass_consumer.
Baker-Polito Administration Announces $9.3 Million in Workforce Skills Capital Grants
This week, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito announced $9.3 million in workforce skills equipment grants to 35 high schools, community colleges and vocational training providers across the Commonwealth. The grants support vocational-technical education and training equipment purchases that connect Massachusetts students and residents to economic opportunities in high-demand industries. Governor Baker said the grants “will help build stronger communities and a more competitive business environment that ensures more residents have the skills they need to succeed in and support the Commonwealth’s economic future.” Lt. Governor Polito said the grants “will build bridges between residents seeking careers to build a future on, and the employers who need a skilled workforce to grow the state’s economy.” The Workforce Skills Capital Grant Program is a new initiative of the Governor’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, which seeks to align education, workforce and economic development strategies across the state. It is headed up by Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald Walker II, Education Secretary James Peyser, and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. The inaugural round of the Workforce Skills Capital Grant program received 68 applications, requesting a total of $18 million in funding. Here is a list of the winning grant applications. Secretary Walker said the goal is to use available public dollars and “funnel them into places that can provide the skills and job training that residents need for the jobs that are available.” Secretary Peyser said the grants “will immediately transform the quality of vocational programs and cutting edge technological opportunities.” Secretary Ash said that by closing the skills gap, “we are equipping residents with the skills needed to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow, and setting the stage for future economic growth.” Consistent with the Baker-Polito Administration’s support for expanded workforce development opportunities, the Governor’s recently filed economic development legislation requests an additional $75 million in capital authorization for additional training equipment grants that strengthen workforce skills, and create strong employment pipelines.
Massachusetts is one of 17 states to join the Accord for a New Energy Future
This week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker joined 16 other governors from around the nation in a bipartisan effort to promote clean energy, clean transportation choices and a modern electrical grid. Over 127 million Americans are represented in the participating states. The Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future provides participating governors with a platform through which their states can collaborate, learn from one another, and leverage partnerships in energy planning and policy making. Governor Charlie Baker said the Accord “highlights the tremendous opportunities to create a shared clean, affordable and resilient energy future. Massachusetts will continue to lead the way on clean energy, energy efficiency and the adoption of innovative technologies such as energy storage. These efforts, and our legislative proposal to bring additional hydroelectricity and other renewable resources into the region, will ensure we meet our ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets while also creating a stronger economy for the Commonwealth.” Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said the Accord “allows us to collaborate with like-minded governors to create innovative clean energy policy and ensure a stronger national energy future. Joining the Accord reaffirms our commitment to diversifying the Commonwealth’s energy portfolio, supporting new energy technologies, and meeting our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% below 1990 levels by 2020.” Senior advisors to the participating governors will convene shortly to discuss initial steps to pursue their shared priorities and commitments contained in the Accord. Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton said the Accord allows “clean energy leaders to strengthen our economy, protect public health and natural resources, and increase energy security. This new commitment builds on the Commonwealth’s forward-thinking leadership in promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy, and addressing the pressing threat of climate change.” The Baker-Polito Administration has been working to stabilize and reduce the cost of energy for residents and businesses, strengthen the clean energy economy in Massachusetts and help meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements set forth under the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). Through the filing of hydropower and solar legislation, the Administration hopes to diversify Massachusetts’ energy portfolio and encourage the development of renewable energy resources. The Administration’s 2016-2018 energy efficiency plan, recently approved by the Department of Public Utilities, sets nation-leading savings levels for both electricity and gas and is estimated to achieve $8 billion in economic, environmental, and energy benefits. The Administration also launched a $10 million Energy Storage Initiative to support the continued growth of renewable power generation and make Massachusetts a national leader in the deployment and effective use of innovative energy technology solutions. Last month, Governor Baker added $2 million in funding to the state’s electric vehicle (EV) rebate program, an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector by increasing the use of zero emission vehicles in Massachusetts. A recent update to Massachusetts’ Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020 concluded that the Commonwealth is well-positioned to meet, or exceed, a greenhouse gas reduction goal of 25% by 2020 through the full implementation of the Baker-Polito Administration’s energy policies. The Administration’s commitment to action on climate is also demonstrated by signing the Metro Boston Climate Preparedness Commitment, endorsing the Subnational Global Climate Leadership Memorandum of Understanding (Under2MOU) and joining Eastern-Canadian Premieres and New England Governors in signing a climate change resolution calling for a 35-45% greenhouse gas reduction, below 1990 emission levels, by 2030. Click here to access the full text of the Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future.
Massachusetts Files Economic Development Legislation Providing “Opportunities for All”
The Baker-Polito Administration filed legislation this week entitled An Act to Provide Opportunities for All. The bill outlines investments of up to $918 million in capital funding for local infrastructure, Brownfields site cleanup, Gateway Cities development, development site assembly and site readiness, smart growth housing, workforce development, emerging technologies, and community-based innovation. In broad terms, the legislation seeks to advance job creation and economic growth by empowering communities and regions to reach their potential, expanding workforce development efforts to close the skills gap and connect residents with economic opportunities, and investing in emerging technologies to set the stage for future job growth across the Commonwealth. Read the press release here. Governor Charlie Baker called the legislation “a platform for growth and prosperity across the Commonwealth,” and said, “Strong communities, a highly-trained workforce, and our commitment to welcoming emerging technologies will ensure Massachusetts’ continues to have a pro-growth business environment providing economic opportunities for all.” Lieutenant Governor Polito said, “Community development and revitalization have been priorities of ours since day one, and this bill will provide new investments and tools to enable and leverage private development toward that goal.” Jay Ash, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, said, “Massachusetts’ greatest asset is its brainpower, and this legislation provides the state’s innovators with the tools they need to create the next generation of jobs in technology and in advanced manufacturing.” An Act to Provide Opportunities for All is organized around four foundational themes: preparing communities for success, a new Massachusetts Innovation Initiative, workforce development, and economic competitiveness.
Governor Baker Announces $83.5 Million for Career Vocational Technical Education
The Baker-Polito Administration is ramping up its support of career vocational technical education, with $83.5 million worth of new initiatives being proposed between the Governor’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget recommendation and new capital grant funding. “With too many good-paying jobs going unfilled, we are pleased to announce this critical investment in our career and technical schools,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our proposal will make it possible for more students to explore a pathway to success through stronger partnerships with our schools and local businesses in the Commonwealth.” The funding in the FY17 budget will be coupled with a substantial capital grant program for vocational equipment that further aligns the administration’s investments with local economic and workforce development needs and employment partnerships: 1.$75 million over five years: new capital authorization to fund grants for equipment to expand and improve career technical education programs, building on a $9.2 million Skills Capital grant program announced this year. 2.$7.5 million: work-based learning grants, including nearly doubling support for school-to-career connecting activities to $5.5 million, and doubling support for Dual Enrollment to $2 million, to expand and replicate STEM-focused early college career pathways, including middle school curriculum and workplace experience and learning. 3.$1 million: new Career Technical Partnership Grants, funded through federal Perkins Act grant funding, to strengthen relationships between vocational schools, comprehensive high schools, and employers. The initiatives have come from the Governor’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, which was created by executive order on February 25, 2015 to align education, workforce and economic development strategies across the state. Governor Baker tapped Education Secretary James Peyser, Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald Walker, II, and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash, who have been engaging with business leaders and educators around the state to find ways to create partnerships between the employer community, the state workforce system and education in order to open up more job opportunities around the Commonwealth. Governor Baker said the Skills Cabinet is working together “to create an approach and a strategy to skill building and skill development, recognizing that this has an enormous role not just in economic development but human capital development,” adding that this approach provides “a path for people to find a career that works for them.”
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker Delivers State of the Commonwealth Address, January 21, 2016
Governor Charlie Baker gave his first State of the Commonwealth Address on Thursday, January 21, 2016 from the House Chamber of the Massachusetts State House. Here is a written version of Governor’s Baker’s address.
12,000 + Librarians, Publishers and Authors Attend ALA Mid Winter Meeting in Boston
People who care about books, learning and knowledge are alive and well in the world, as evidenced by the American Library Association Mid-Winter Meeting held in Boston last weekend. Over 12,000 librarians, book buyers, authors and publishers attended the industry show, held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in the Seaport District. The theme of this year’s meeting – The Conversation Starts Here – refers to the longstanding ability of libraries to transform lives through learning and access to information. “There is no better time than in an election year – when topics such as education, employment and the economy are at the forefront – to communicate the library’s role in fostering individual opportunity and community progress,” noted ALA President Sari Feldman. Numerous librarians, authors and guest speakers talked about the transformative state of the library and publishing world today, with traditional formats like printed materials and nuts-and-bolts library environments embracing the digital age and creating new interactive opportunities to learn. Noted filmmaker Ken Burns, a panelist at the ERT/Booklist Author Forum, said that “libraries have turned into the most important places in my work for the last 40 years.” The delegates took delight in being in Boston, home of the Boston Public Library – the nation’s first free, public library. Many of them took guided tours of the BPL’s facilities and holdings. The Boston Athenaeum, created in 1807 as the first private library in the American colonies, offered an art and architecture tour for the librarians, and so did Houghton Library at Harvard University. A number of Massachusetts publishers were present, including Houghton Mifflin, Candlewick Press, David R. Godine Publisher and MIT Press, along with companies from other parts of the country such as Globe Pequot Press of Connecticut, Rowman & Littlefield of Maryland, and Peachtree Publishers of Georgia. The international book community was represented by the Beijing Book Fair/ China National Publications Group, Elsevier Inc. of Holland and the Frankford Book Fair of Germany. A number of vendors and suppliers exhibited at the meeting, ranging from Infor Library and Information Systems of Framingham, MA, which manages metadata and library services, to Clancy Relocation & Logistics of Patterson, NY, specialists in library relocation and collection management services. Here is a full list of exhibitors. National Library Week is celebrated this year on April 1-16, 2016, during which libraries across Massachusetts will create learning activities, author readings and open houses to promote the value of libraries in the Bay State. You can find more about the state’s libraries by visiting the Massachusetts Library System and Massachusetts Library Association. You can search for libraries by topics or by town here.
Massachusetts Awards $1.5 Million for Advanced Manufacturing Training
(Caption: On December 3, 2015, Governor Charlie Baker announced training program grants at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute.) Photo by Joanne DeCaro Last week, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $1.5 million in Advanced Manufacturing Training Program Workforce Development Grants, aimed to train Massachusetts residents looking for work and connect them with manufacturing companies seeking skilled workers. Governor Charlie Baker made the announcement at the Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, where he was joined by members of his administration’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, along with manufacturing leaders, training specialists and educational organizations. These grants, awarded to 10 workforce development teams across the Commonwealth, provide precision manufacturing training to unemployed and underemployed Massachusetts residents. The training grants target demographic groups that experience chronically higher rates of unemployment, and groups that are historically underrepresented in the manufacturing sector, including veterans, African Americans, Hispanic or Latino Americans, and women. Governor Baker said that Massachusetts “continues to be a national leader in advanced manufacturing, and the sector is an important component of the state’s overall economic health.” He said the grants will “help connect residents to good-paying jobs, while meeting the increasing demand for a skilled manufacturing workforce.” Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said, “Partnerships between educational institutions and the business community are important for successful workforce training programs. The partnerships demonstrated by these grants will ensure the needs of those looking for work and the manufacturing community are aligned.” The Baker-Polito Administration’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, convened in February 2015, aims to close the skills gap and connect citizens to jobs by making workforce development efforts more employer-centric, and by identifying and bringing to scale successful training and education models. The Workforce Skills Cabinet is coordinating the implementation of the precision manufacturing training grants. The Cabinet is chaired by the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, Ronald L. Walker II, and comprised of the Secretary of Education, Jim Peyser, and the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Jay Ash. 2015 Advanced Manufacturing Training Program Workforce Development Grant Award Winners Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, Pittsfield Center for Manufacturing Technology, Woburn City of Somerville E-Team Machinist Training Program, Lynn Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, Greenfield Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board, New Bedford Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Worcester Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium, Lawrence Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, Springfield Tech Foundry, Springfield
International Diplomats and Trade Officials Tour Western Mass to Explore Partnership Opportunities
(Tour of the Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke) This week, the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment (MOITI) led a bus tour of international diplomats and trade officials from 12 countries and regions to explore economic development and entrepreneurship initiatives in Western Massachusetts. The tour took place on Tuesday, November 17, and included stops at Valley Venture Mentors in Springfield, the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) in Holyoke and Yankee Candle Company in South Deerfield. Nam Pham, Assistant Secretary of Business Development, and Katie Stebbins, Assistant Secretary of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship, led the tour and discussed the Baker-Polito Administration’s initiatives to support job growth, workforce development, and entrepreneurship in Gateway Cities and throughout Western Massachusetts. “It is essential that the benefits of international investment and trade extend across the Commonwealth, and this trip makes the consular corps aware of the great opportunities and workforce readily available in Western Massachusetts,” said Pham. “Massachusetts is a hub of international business and commerce and the entire state has something to offer to the global economy.” “Entrepreneurship does not just exist in Cambridge or Boston, but across the entire Commonwealth,” said Stebbins. “Valley Venture Mentors in Springfield is quickly becoming a regional hub for start-up companies, and this tour is one way to ensure that international entrepreneurs look beyond route 128 when deciding where to launch their business.” “Western Massachusetts holds many opportunities for international firms and investors,” said Rick Sullivan, Executive Director of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, which supported Tuesday’s tour. “We look forward to working with the consular community to welcome more business leaders to the region.” The Consular Corps of Massachusetts consists of 60 career and honorary diplomats who represent their respective countries in the New England region and promote cultural and economic ties. “This tour was a great chance to learn about the region and about economic development and partnership opportunities beyond Boston,” said Ambassador Songjun Ohm, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Boston. “Our job is to facilitate relations between Massachusetts and our home countries, and this tour was a great chance to expand our network and explore new areas for collaboration,” said Fionnuala Quinlan, Consul General of Ireland in Boston. “This initiative is a helpful way to promote and expand access to the vibrant consular community in Massachusetts and increase international partnerships,” said Hunter Richard, Senior Manager of Business Development at MOITI.
MASSACHUSETTS PROMOTES MANUFACTURING SECTOR IN OCTOBER
Massachusetts celebrates its manufacturing industry throughout October with a series of events and initiatives to support the Commonwealth’s 7,000 manufacturing companies and their 250,000 workers. You can find a full schedule of activities, which includes tours, seminars and open houses, by visiting Amp it up!, the state’s advanced manufacturing program. Among the highlights of Manufacturing Month in Massachusetts. The Baker-Polito Administration proclaimed October 2015 as Manufacturers Month, stating that “Manufacturing is important not only as an economic driver of our state, but also as a key generator of innovation, product development and employment potential.” On Friday, October 2, National Manufacturing Day, the Baker-Polito opened the application process for the Advanced Manufacturing Training Program’s Workforce Development Grants. These grants will fund programs that provide training to unemployed and underemployed individuals, including veterans, minorities and women, for precision manufacturing programs. Here is more information about applying. Governor Charlie Baker said it is important to recognize “the contributions that manufacturing companies and workers make to the well-being, health, safety and prosperity of the Commonwealth and to support the continued growth of this sector by helping to train new workers for available positions.” Jay Ash, Secretary of Housing & Economic Development, said, “Employers frequently tell us that a shortage of skilled workers keeps them from hiring and growing. These training grants will help us connect citizens across the Commonwealth to good-paying jobs, while enabling economic growth.” On Monday, October 5, MassChallenge hosts a MADE@MassChallenge Hardware Startup Showcase which will introduce the manufacturing community to the 2015 MassChallenge hardware startups as well as up-and-coming companies from the Wentworth Institute of Technology. On Friday, October 16, the Massachusetts Export Center holds a briefing on Best Practices for Export Compliance Program Development and Management. It is a must-attend for any manufacturers interested in exporting its products. On Monday, October 26, the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative and the Northeast Advanced Manufacturing Consortium hold a forum to discuss manufacturing issues such as innovation, workforce training and funding. On Wednesday, October 28, the Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE) hosts the New England Manufacturing Showcase to present the unique products and capabilities of its members. In August 2015, the Baker-Polito administration made two announcements to underscore its ongoing commitment to advancing manufacturing in Massachusetts. The first was a partnership between MIT, Quinsigamond Community College, and the Commonwealth in support of the Integrated Photonics Institute in Manufacturing Innovation. The second was that Massachusetts would be a partner in the nation’s Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Flexible Hybrid Electronics. The partnership includes UMass/Amherst, MIT, UMass/Lowell, Harvard and Northeastern, along with private sector companies. The Manufacturing Innovation Institute is part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), a federal competition sponsored by the US Department of Defense that seeks to advance manufacturing by connecting academic researchers with private firms. Here is more information about Massachusetts’ Advanced Manufacturing Program (AMP it up!).
Massachusetts Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
(Caption: Participants at the Partners in Transportation Hispanic Month Celebration. Photo Courtesy of Jerry Kelleher, Mass DOT) Massachusetts is celebrating its 27th annual Hispanic Heritage Month September 15-October 15, 2015. This year’s celebrations kicked off on September 14 with an event at the Massachusetts Transportation Building hosted by the Partners in Transportation. Pablo Calderon, Community Outreach Specialist for MassDOT and MBTA, presented a Community Recognition Award to the Veronica Robles Cultural Center in East Boston, which also provided the entertainment in the form of a traditional dance. Jose Masso, Director of Community Relations at Massport and well know radio host of Con Salsa, was the keynote speaker. Other events taking place across the Commonwealth include: September 29 Panel Discussion on the Voting Rights Act and its implication on Latinos, with special guest Daniel Hernandez Joseph, NE Consulate General of Mexico. Federal Reserve Bank, Boston. Hosted by Get Konnected. October 7 Entrepreneurship for All/Emprendimiento para Todos presents Hispanic Month Heritage celebration, featuring Juan Vega, Assistant Secretary for Communities and Programs at EOHED. The Relief’s Inn, Lawrence. October 8 Hanscom Airforce Base in Bedford is celebrating Hispanic Americans: Energizing our Nation’s Divisity all month. On October 8 there is a food tasting event at the Base Chapel, open to the Hanscom community. October 9 El Mundo Hispanic Heritage Month Breakfast, featuring Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Revere Hotel, Boston October 9 The Holyoke Latin Jazz Festival features top Latin musicians for a night of music, culture and celebration. War Memorial Auditorium, Holyoke. October 14 Elms College in Chicopee features presentation by Elizabeth Barajas-Roman, CEO, Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts. Find out more about National Hispanic Heritage Month. For more information on immigrant communities in Massachusetts, visit the Office of Refugees and Immigrants.
18TH CENTURY TIME CAPSULE REPRESENTS ICONIC MASSACHUSETTS
Massachusetts is proud of its rich and revered history, as evidenced by the Time Capsule Ceremony taking place at the Massachusetts State House on Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Governor Charlie Baker and Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin, along with state officials, dignitaries, museum archivists, school children and history fans are gathering on the State House lawn to return a time capsule, dating to the 18th century, back in the cornerstone of the building. The capsule contains invaluable items from the early years of our nation: silver and copper coins dating from 1652 to 1855; a silver plaque thought to be engraved by Paul Revere; a copper medal depicting George Washington; 18th century newspapers; and the title page from the Massachusetts Colony Records. It was first placed in the cornerstone back in 1795 by Governor Sam Adams. The only time it saw the light of day was in 1855, when the building foundation needed emergency repairs. Then in 2014, the time capsule was re-discovered during work on the building and taken out of its resting place for inspection at the Museum of Fine Arts. Now it is returning to its coveted spot, where it will lay hidden for future generations to re-discover. The ceremony kicks off at 9:45 a.m. with a procession from Boston Common to the State House featuring the Ancient and Honorable Military Artillery Company of Massachusetts, the 215th Army Band Vocal Quartet, the Grand Lodge of Masons, the famous Clydesdale horses and hundreds of schoolchildren there to see history in the making. The formal ceremony takes place on the State House lawn, starting at around 10 a.m. The event is free and open to the public, and is also being streamed live. Massachusetts has long been one of the most iconic places in America – full of people, places and events that stand the test of time. The time capsule is a proud bearer of the history of Massachusetts and the nation. For more information, visit the Secretary of State web site. To learn more about history in Massachusetts, visit MassVacation.com.
Massachusetts Welcomes Aeromexico direct air service between Boston and Mexico City
This week Massachusetts officials welcomed Aeromexico’s new direct air service between Boston and Mexico City, citing enhanced opportunities in business, tourism and educational exchange between the two places. The new service launched on Monday, June 1, 2015 between Boston’s Logan International Airport and Mexico City’s Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juarez. Governor Charlie Baker said the new route opens up connections to 16 major cities in Latin America including Buenos Aires, Lima and Bogota, adding “it not only opens doors for business, but it lets our diverse residents and visiting students easily connect to their families.’’ With daily service every day (except Tuesday), Aeromexico flight 699 leaves Boston at 4:20 p.m. and arrives in Mexico City at 8:42 p.m. Flight 698 leaves Mexico City at 9 a.m. and arrives in Boston at 3:05 p.m. The Boeing 737-700 airplanes have 124 seats, including 12 seats in the Aeromexico Clase Premier Business Class cabin. Anko van der Werff, Aeromexico Chief Revenue Officer, called Boston “a city of great importance for Mexico and Latin America because of its global economic potential and extensive academic offerings that draw many students from Mexico and Latin America every year.” Officials said the market between Boston and Mexico City, combined with the airlines’ other 45 destinations in Mexico and Central America, represents over 492,000 passengers and $134M in ticket revenue annually. As a member of the SkyTeam Airline Alliance, Aeromexico partners with Delta and other partner airlines to use Boston Logan International Airport as a gateway to Europe. Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn said the two cities have much in common. “Like Boston, Mexico City is a place that honors its significant history, it is a cultural and political hub for its people, has a large concentration of universities, and it is a city that celebrates its diversity.” Last year, more than 40,000 Mexicans traveled from Mexico to Massachusetts, according to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries. Patrick Moscaritolo, President and CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the new service “will mean more visitors and significantly more spending from Mexico and Latin America for our city and for our hotels, restaurant, attractions and retailers.” The local visitor industry could see as much as $54 million in new spending thanks to Aeromexico’s new service. Paula Murphy, Director of the Massachusetts Export Center, says Mexico is currently the Commonwealth’s third largest export partner. In 2014, Massachusetts exported $2.3 billion worth of goods and services to Mexico, while importing $3.6 billion from Mexico. For more information about visiting Massachusetts, go MassVacation.com.
Reflections on Asian-American Heritage Month
(Photo by Jerry Kelleher, MassDOT) by Nam Pham As we celebrate Asian American Heritage month, it is fitting that we praise our high achievers and take satisfaction in their success. That sense of pride is something all of us share – Black, White, Asian, and Latino – about who we are and where we came from. But for me, these celebrations serve a greater purpose: they allow us to reflect upon our communities, to look beyond how far we have come, and focus on how far we still have to go. Those of us who have worked in the trenches, fighting for health care, affordable housing, safe neighborhoods and decent jobs, know how much work remains to be done before we can seriously talk about equality and inclusion in our society. The fact of the matter is that Massachusetts is a state of two economies: one economy for those doing exceedingly well, and the other economy for those who struggle to make ends meet. In national studies on the Income Inequality Gap, Massachusetts ranks 42nd, near the bottom among all US states. From 2009-2011 the top 1% of workers in Massachusetts saw their incomes increase by 26.5%, while the remaining 99% of us saw a decline of 3.1%. Middle and lower income groups experienced a 5.3% decline in income. The Boston Globe reported in March that Boston “has the third highest rate of income inequality among the 50 largest US cities in 2013.” The top five percent of households earned 15 times more than the bottom 20% of households in the state. This disparity affects all of us, but in particular minorities, women and immigrants. These are the groups at the bottom of the income scale. These are the people who work in small businesses and traditional industries like manufacturing. These are the people falling behind because of housing costs, energy costs and transportation costs. And while we are certainly happy that certain parts of our economy are thriving in Massachusetts, we’re just as equally concerned that the majority of the state is not thriving as well. Like Massachusetts’ economy, the Asian American community also has two distinct groups: one is very successful, and one is still struggling to adapt, to adjust and to make ends meet. On one end of the spectrum, we have fully contributing and prosperous US citizens like Japanese-Americans, Indian-Americans, or Taiwanese-Americans. On the other hand, thousands of Cambodians, Laotians and Vietnamese-Americans as a group are at the bottom of the economic ladder. As a Vietnamese immigrant, I am very aware of the challenges faced by many Asian-Americans, especially the immigrant and refugee populations, who are often isolated because of language and cultural differences. It’s not that immigrants don’t want to fit in; they just need help learning how to do so. State and local government can help make that assimilation go smoothly. For example, today there are over 27,000 Asian small businesses in Massachusetts, and yet only about 200 of them have registered on the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Program, which connects small businesses with government procurement. We need to do a better job connecting all of our citizens with these kinds of opportunities. Another example: despite being the fastest growing immigrant population in the state, Asian-American participation in local elections remains relatively low. Bilingual ballots are an important tool for involving immigrant groups, but we need to do a better job getting newcomers to understand and take seriously their civic responsibilities and the rewards of having a voice in politics. One misconception about Asian-American is that they are all super-achievers, so called ‘model minorities’ who don’t need help because they have it all. They’re thought of as wealthy students, or business travelers shopping at luxury stores and eating in fancy restaurants. But as UMass/Boston Professor Paul Watanabe has pointed out, “Not all Asians are driving BMWs and have higher education.” So I believe that as a society we need to reassess our own biases and prejudices and get beyond them. If you look closely at immigrant communities in Lowell, Springfield, Boston and Quincy, or in any of the Gateway Cities, you can easily see the challenges these communities face. Despite these challenges, which every group faces at one time or another, we continue to march forward, through hard work, determination, and faith that our efforts will be rewarded. If you compare today’s Vietnamese-American community in Dorchester’s Fields Corner to what it was 25 years ago, you can see the marked progress. If you look around Chinatown, formerly known as the Combat Zone, you see progress. But you can also see the work that still needs to be done before we can call our Commonwealth truly equal and inclusive. So when I think of Asian American Heritage Month, I take enormous pride in being a naturalized American citizen and a resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. And I take equal pride in my Vietnamese heritage and in being part of the Asian American community. But alongside that pride, I am aware of the continuous work still required on behalf of all of the citizens of this Commonwealth. We may be rich in culture, history and heritage, but poor when it comes to ensuring that everyone in our Commonwealth gets the same opportunities to prosper. As a society, we need to do better. The US is the only place on earth that becomes a country not because of an ancient claim of a piece of land or a royal blood line; we came together because of an idea, the idea of all men are created equal to pursue happiness and justice for all. That is our duty as citizens, as business leaders and as government officials, to make sure that all of us have the same chance to pursue our dreams. (Excerpts from Nam Pham’s keynote lecture entitled ‘Many Cultures, One Voice: Promote Equality and Inclusion,’ delivered to the MBTA’s Partners in Transportation Diversity Committee.)
Congratulations Massachusetts Class of 2015 College Graduates
(Northeastern University 2015 Commencement. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University.) It is commencement season in Massachusetts this spring, a joyous time of year for students graduating from any of the 110 public or private colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. Congratulations to the 110,000+ student graduates in the Massachusetts Class of 2015 and to their families and professors too! Massachusetts takes pride in its outstanding colleges and universities, medical centers and research facilities that attract students from around the world as well as local residents. Today, nearly 40% of Massachusetts residents have a college degree, giving it the highest percentage of college graduates in the nation, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts (AICUM) reports that Massachusetts ranks first in the nation in percentage of students graduating from independent colleges in four years. Independent schools have a $25 billion annual economic impact on Massachusetts. In addition to the private colleges, Massachusetts serves about 260,000 students at 29 public schools including 15 community colleges, nine state universities and five University of Massachusetts campuses, according to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. Here is a full list of Massachusetts’ public colleges and universities. Commencement season is also an opportunity for society’s leaders and achievers to impart wisdom to the young generation of graduates. Among this year’s commencement speakers: Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, May 16 Suffolk University, College of Arts & Sciences, May 17 Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr., the first African American astronaut to walk in space Worcester Polytechnic University, May 16 Regina McCarthy, Administrator of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency University of Massachusetts/Boston, May 29 Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the United States Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 5 The influx of proud family members in town for the graduates also provides a welcome bump to the state’s hospitality industry, especially hotels and restaurants but also tourist attractions like museums, sports and cultural venues and gift shops. The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB) estimates that this year’s graduations draw about 350,000 visitors to the state. The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism has compiled a list of all colleges and universities in Massachusetts, separated by region. You’ll find information about the schools, and also valuable information about local transportation, seasonal activities, and special events that give you a flavor of each school. It’s a great resource for parents making their first trip to Massachusetts to explore potential colleges and universities for their children.
Edward M. Kennedy Institute of the US Senate Offers Lessons in Democracy
Massachusetts, with its own illustrious traditions of politics and government, is poised to tell the distinctive story of American democracy at the newly launched Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate. The non-partisan center of learning was created as a tribute to the late Senator Ted Kennedy, who represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senator for 47 years. The Institute’s mission is to “educate the public about the important role of the Senate in our government, encourage participatory democracy, invigorate civil discourse, and inspire the next generation of citizens and leaders to engage in the civil life of their communities.” At the Institute’s formal opening on March 30, 2015, the Kennedy family welcomed President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senators John McCain, Trent Lott, Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey and other dignitaries from around the world. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh welcomed the audience, and music was provided by the Boston Pops. See video of the formal dedication. Educators are excited by the Institute’s use of high tech exhibits, including digital tablets that allow students to interact with the procedures that go into making laws, while learning about the important issues of the day. Dr. Bill DeWalt, Executive Vice President and Museum Director, says the Institute will be “a valuable resource for everyone from students to seniors. Our exhibits are designed to appeal to people of all ages, and we will offer a variety of programs, lectures and symposia for adults.” Tourism officials predict that international visitors will make their way to the Institute to learn more about American democracy. DeWalt says the Institute is “offering multiple languages on the digital tablet that guides non-English speakers through the exhibit. Spanish, French, German, Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, and Portuguese languages will be available initially,” he said. “These translations provide high-level interpretations of the basic content introduced with each exhibit.” Situated at Columbia Point in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate is located right next to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. Together these two institutions will attract visitors from across the country and from around the world, while inspiring students and citizens everywhere to appreciate the importance of public service. For more information about visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com.
Dreams of Freedom Exhibit Hails Massachusetts’ Immigrant Story
Massachusetts has a compelling immigrant story to tell about waves of Europeans, Asians and Central and South Americans who have journeyed to the Bay State over the past four centuries, seeking freedom and opportunity. Now, those powerful stories are on proud display at the new Dreams of Freedom: Boston’s Immigrant Experience, a multi-media, educational exhibition set atop the Skywalk Observatory on the 50th floor of the Prudential Tower. Taking in the sweeping vistas of Boston Harbor, Logan International Airport, Boston’s various neighborhoods and even a glimpse of New Hampshire (on a clear day), it’s easy to appreciate the immigrant odyssey as you explore the Dreams of Freedom exhibit. Earlier this month, Exhibit Curator Dr. Westy Egmont welcomed visitors to the Dreams of Freedom opening, and spoke passionately about how Boston’s greatness as a city “grows from, not despite, its role as an immigrant city.” He said the new exhibit can allow new generations of Bostonians and visitors alike to learn about and take pride in the city’s illustrious immigrant story. Egmont was joined at the rostrum by state Senator Linda Dorcena-Forry, who spoke eloquently about her parents, who emigrated from Haiti to Dorchester; and by Pat Moscaritolo, head of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, who spoke proudly of his Italian father who raised his family in East Boston, running a family restaurant well into his 80s. The exhibit itself is emotionally powerful, with displays of suitcases and trunks, passports, letters-home and family keepsakes too important to leave behind. And it is historically accurate, thanks to Dr. Kristen A. Petersen, whose research blends together individual stories with ethnic and racial migrations, set against a timeline of US Immigration laws from the 18th century to the present. Officials believe the exhibit will attract visitors from around the world and also be of interest to educators, tour groups and local immigrant organizations. President John F. Kennedy, a native son whose great grandparents emigrated from Ireland in the 1840s, often noted that America is a nation of immigrants. In a similar spirit, Dreams of Freedom proudly shows how Boston and Massachusetts were shaped and made richer by its immigrant communities. For more information about educational offerings or booking a group reservation, call (617) 859-0648 or send email.
Massachusetts Launches Workforce Skills Gap Cabinet
(Caption: HED Secretary Jay Ash,Governor Charlie Baker, LWD Secretary Ron Walker and Education Secretary Jim Peyser) Massachusetts is launching a new initiative to bridge the workforce skills gap across the Commonwealth so that employers can find the type of skilled workers they seeks, today and in the future. This week, Governor Charlie Baker established a Workforce Skills Cabinet, chaired by Ron Walker, the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, and comprised of Jim Peyser, Secretary of Education and Jay Ash, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development. “A talented workforce and growing economy are inseparable and Massachusetts has an opportunity to capitalize on both by ensuring our workers have the skills to meet the needs of employers in the 21st century economy,” said Governor Baker in a press release. Since regions across the state have different work skill needs and gaps, one task of the Workforce Skills Cabinet is to develop goals, objectives and metrics that are ultimately implemented region by region. To that end, the Cabinet will recommend to the Governor ways to improve alignment among state policies, programs, resources, job readiness and vocational and educational opportunities. As an example, Baker cited the aerospace industry in the Pioneer Valley, which he said was booming. “They have a thousand jobs or more, open at any given time, for skilled workers. The key word here is ‘skilled’ workers.” The Director of Education and Workforce Development, a jointly funded position in the Executive Office of Education, will be elevated to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and coordinate with the Governor’s Office, the Workforce Skills Cabinet, and with external groups. “We need to better connect business to the entire workforce development system which includes workforce investment boards, career centers, community colleges and voc-tech schools,” said Secretary Walker. “The Cabinet will be the vehicle to drive the conversation and action across the three Secretariats to analyze labor needs and expand talent pipelines for the jobs employers need to fill.” The Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) applauded the new initiative, stating that “The inability to locate and hire skilled employees was by far the top concern expressed by Massachusetts employees last year….The skills issue crosses almost every industry, from manufacturers in the Pioneer Valley to software companies in Boston’s Innovation District to research and engineering firms on the North Shore.” The Workforce Skills Cabinet plans to meet with businesses, schools, government agencies, career centers and job seekers in the coming months, and report back to the Baker-Polito Administration this summer with recommendations.
Massachusetts Senate Conducting “Commonwealth Conversations” in February & March
The Massachusetts Senate has launched a state wide listening tour called Commonwealth Conversations, a series of grassroots forums designed to connect state legislators directly with constituents to hear their ideas, concerns and suggestions. The series kicked off on February 4, 2015 in Western Massachusetts, and continues on Wednesday, February 11 with a public forum in Central Massachusetts being held at 6:30 p.m. at the UMass Medical School – Aaron Lazare Medical Research Building in Worchester. Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg noted recently that “the best ideas are often found not within these halls but in our neighborhoods and our coffee shops, in our board rooms and union halls, in our office break rooms and at our family tables.” In a video announcing the Commonwealth Conversations, Senate President Rosenberg was joined by Senator Bruce E. Tarr, Minority Leader of the MA Senate, and Senator Michael. J. Rodrigues, Chair of the Commonwealth Conversations. Senator Tarr said, “These forums are part of an effort to make your government even more accessible and responsive to you. State Senators from around the Commonwealth will be listening to what you have to say, and working hard to make sure they carry your voices and your ideas back to Beacon Hill.” “So that’s where your Senators will be over the next few weeks,” Rosenberg continued, “listening to your ideas, and following up on our promise of shared leadership with the people of the Commonwealth.” Here is a schedule of the upcoming forums: February 23 / North Shore February 25 / South Shore March 2 / Metro West March 4 / Metro Boston March 11 / South Coast March 18 / Southeast For more information, visit Commonwealth Conversations web site, and follow on Twitter #MAConvos.
Berklee High School Jazz Festival Deserves its Encore!
Thousands of jazz students from across the United States are streaming into Massachusetts for the 47th annual Berklee High School Jazz Festival, taking place on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston’s Back Bay. The festival is free and open to the public. The largest event of its kind in the country, the festival features 200+ jazz bands and over 3,000 students from 13 states and Puerto Rico. They journey here each year to compete for top prizes in categories like Big Bands, Combos and Vocal Jazz Ensembles, plus in individual instrumental competitions. The top ranked ensembles get partial scholarships to Berklee’s prestigious Five Week Summer Performance Program, which tutors jazz musicians from around the world on the finer points of America’s most original music. Berklee College of Music, founded as a music teaching studio in 1945, is considered the premier jazz education university in the world, producing some of the world’s top musicians, composers and producers, and scooping more Grammy Awards than any other institution. The High School Jazz Festival is just one of many programs to cultivate musical, creative and technical skills available in Massachusetts. Along with Berklee, other schools with distinctive music programs include New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, Longy School of Music, and the University of Massachusetts campuses at Amherst and Lowell. Here is a list of jazz education programs in Massachusetts. Jazz lovers rightly refer to New Orleans as the birthplace of jazz, and cities like Chicago, Memphis, Nashville, San Francisco and New York all boast great music communities. But Boston is unique in having a vibrant, bustling music scene that is enhanced by the outstanding teaching institutions that draw aspiring musicians from around the world. To find out about live jazz in Massachusetts throughout the year, visit MassJazz.com To the musicians competing at the Berklee High School Jazz Festival this weekend, we say, Encore!
Governor Baker Announces $4 million grant to UMass Lowell for new research collaborative
Governor Charlie Baker announced a $4 million grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech) to UMass Lowell to support the school’s new Printed Electronics Research Collaborative (PERC). The four-year grant award, part of the Collaborative Research and Development Matching Grant Program, is being matched by $12 million in industry support. Governor Baker called the grant “another positive step forward for UMass Lowell, students and businesses across the Commonwealth…. By connecting the incredible resources in our universities with the business community, the Commonwealth will continue to stimulate economic growth and create more good-paying jobs.” Printed electronics is an emerging field with the potential to become a $76 billion global market in the next decade, according to a 2014 report by IDTechEx. It has a broad range of applications in fields including health care, telecommunications and renewable energy. UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan and MassTech CEO Pamela Goldberg joined the governor for the announcement at the Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, an 84,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art research facility on campus where PERC will reside, alongside the Raytheon-UMass Lowell Research Institute. “Our mission is to convene industry, academia and government to catalyze economic opportunity in regions and clusters around the Commonwealth,” said Goldberg. “This project hits the mark on several fronts, including the potential to drive the development of innovative products and business growth.” “Not only does bringing our researchers together with innovators in industry stimulate economic growth, it offers our students unparalleled opportunities for experiential education,” Meehan said. “We are grateful to the Commonwealth for its investment in what we believe will be a model for academic and industry collaboration.” Among the Massachusetts companies that have signed on to participate in PERC are Raytheon, MicroChem, Rogers Corporation, SI2 Technologies and Triton Systems, with more companies expected, according to Julie Chen, Vice Provost for Research UMass Lowell.
Charlie Baker Becomes Governor of Massachusetts on January 8, 2015
(Photo Courtesy of State House News) Charlie Baker was sworn into office as the 72nd Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on Thursday, January 8, 2015. Governor Baker delivered his inaugural address to the joint session of the Massachusetts state legislature at the State House in Boston. Here is the text of Governor Baker’s remarks. Karyn Polito was then sworn in as Lt. Governor of the Commonwealth. Here are Lt. Governor Polito’s remarks. Governor Baker joins an illustrious list of governors from Massachusetts that dates back to John Hancock (1789-1793). Contact the Governor’s Office here, and follow Governor Baker on twitter.
Invention, Innovation & Imagination: JFK’s Space Program Exhibit at Logan Airport
(Photo courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum) John F. Kennedy continues to inspire. The 35th president of the United States (1961-63) was a proud native son of Massachusetts whose leadership, vision and courage continue to inspire the nation and the world. The U.S. Space Program was one of President Kennedy’s most lasting initiatives and is the focus of a new exhibit aptly titled, “Invention, Innovation and Imagination.” The multimedia installation, a joint collaboration between the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum and the Massachusetts Port Authority, is located at Terminal A at Boston’s Logan International Airport. For history lovers, the exhibit brings to bear the cold war era of the 1960s, when the United States and the Soviet Union were vying to reach the moon first. On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy appealed to the Americans’ spirit of adventure, to patriotic pride, and to the cause of freedom, saying: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.” The wall graphics celebrate the innovation economy in New England by highlighting numerous innovations that resulted from the U.S. Space Program. One of the compelling elements is an audio of President Kennedy’s famous speech challenging the nation to put a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s. Heather Campion, CEO of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, said, “Not only did his challenge to Americans and stewardship of the Space Program land a man on the moon in just eight years, but it resulted in several significant scientific advancements that are staples to us today, including GPS, protective firefighting gear and our ability to harness solar energy.” Thomas P. Glynn, CEO of Massport, said the exhibit is part of the airport’s public art program “aimed at stimulating passengers and providing a sense of place. This exhibit reminds us how President Kennedy motivated the nation to push the limits of science and technology. That motivation has continued ever since with great results here in Massachusetts.” This installation is first piece in three-phase collaboration between JFK Library Foundation and Logan Airport. Plans for future installations include visuals designed to encourage children to pursue science and volunteerism, and an installation highlighting President Kennedy’s call for global citizenship. Located in East Boston, Logan Airport is the region’s largest transportation center, generating $7 billion in economic activity each year. The JFK Library & Museum is located at Columbia Point in Dorchester preserves and provides access to historical materials related to President Kennedy and his times. For more about visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com.
Massachusetts Champions New College Campus in City of Brockton
The City of Brockton is about to get a college campus, thanks to the Downtown Brockton Higher Education Collaborative. And that is great news for this proud Gateway City, long known as the City of Champions. Earlier this week, Governor Deval Patrick gathered with state and local officials, educators, businesses and residents to discuss this one-of-a-kind new campus center to be located at 229 Main Street at the corner of Belmont Street. The campus will serve about 1,000 students each year; they will benefit from the educational resources of three state schools: Massasoit Community College (MCC), Bridgewater State University (BSU) and the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB). Finegold Alexander + Associates is the architectural firm that will convert the long-vacant building into the new college center. The existing building dates back to 1927. The $21.5 million, state-funded project is part of Governor Patrick’s strategy to invest in education, innovation and infrastructure as a way to stimulate economic development. Along with the educational opportunities and access being offered to local residents, the new campus will offer online education materials that use effective and innovative learning technologies. The project itself will create nearly 250 construction jobs and permanent educational jobs. Proponents expect that the new campus will stimulate the revitalization of downtown Brockton, and that small businesses will flourish as a result. It will also increase pedestrians in the downtown area. Funding for the $21.5 million project, which is being spread over five years, was included in Governor Patrick’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 – 2019 Capital Investment Plan. During the Patrick Administration, the Commonwealth completed or has under construction projects at every one of the states’ 29 public campuses. In September, Governor Patrick officially opened a new University of Massachusetts Center in downtown Springfield, designed to expand educational opportunities in the Pioneer Valley. The Patrick Administration has also been committed to closing achievement gaps where they are most persistent. The Governor’s Gateway Cities Education Agenda provides targeted and differentiated support to English Language learners and better prepares high school students for career success. The agenda utilizes tools provided by the 2010 Achievement Gap Act, a sweeping education reform bill that gives educators the resources they need to dramatically improve student outcomes.
Massachusetts and Guangzhou, China Re-establish trade and cultural ties dating back 230 years
by Hunter Richard In August, the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment (MOITI) led a delegation of economic development and cultural leaders from Massachusetts to Guangzhou, China to participate in a celebration and business forum commemorating the 230th Anniversary of the Sailing of the Empress of China. Sponsored by Oceanwide Consulting and the China Zhigong Party, the mission afforded an opportunity to promote Massachusetts as a destination for foreign investment, tour the region’s special development and biotech zones, and strengthen sister-state relations between Massachusetts and Guangdong. Participants included Richard Elam, Executive Director of MOITI, Hunter Richard, Manager of Business Development at MOITI; John Barros, Chief of Economic Development for the City of Boston; Thomas Paine, Vice President of Ager Group Inc. and an Overseer of the Massachusetts Historical Society; Robert Pierce Forbes, a trustee of the Forbes House Museum in Milton and a fifth-generation descendant of China trade Captain Robert Bennet Forbes; and Sherry Dong, President of the Chinese Historical Society of New England. Massachusetts played an important role in Guangzhou’s rise as a major destination for American merchants following the Revolutionary War. On February 22, 1784, the Boston-built Empress of China departed New York and began a 188 day voyage around the world carrying 10,000 pounds of Virginia-grown Ginseng root, Spanish silver dollars, and a 42-man crew. The ship arrived in Guangzhou on August 28, 1784 and established trade and diplomatic relations between the Chinese Empire and the newly formed United States. New England merchants from the ports of Boston, Salem, and others acquired large fortunes from the China trade that flourished at the turn of the 18th century. Today, that fascinating story is highlighted by the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem and the Forbes House Museum in Milton. During the three-day mission, the delegation attended the opening of a new exhibit at the Whampoa Old Fort highlighting the Empress of China and its role in building trade and diplomatic relationship between Guangzhou and the United States. The delegation also toured several historical sites of the city, the Zhujiang New Town development zone, and Guangzhou’s biotech island. After visiting several local companies, members of the delegation discussed the benefits of doing business in Massachusetts in a forum that brought together over 100 local business leaders and investors. Most notable, John Barros and the Mayor of Guangzhou, Chen Jianhua, signed an agreement to boost business and cultural ties between the two cities. MOITI also presented a proclamation signed by the Massachusetts Legislature designating August 28th, 2014 as “Guangzhou, Guangdong – Boston, Massachusetts Day.” Guangzhou is China’s third largest city and is home to over 12 million residents. Located in the Pearl River Delta west of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a major manufacturing hub that has embraced an ambitious plan to redevelop wide sections of the city, modernize infrastructure, and transition to an advanced economy based on services, biotech, and innovation. The port has played an important role in the China trade, serving as the port of entry for foreign commerce and diplomacy from the 1700’s through World War II. Under Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms, Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, experienced significant economic growth and a rise of manufacturing of goods for export. In 1983, Governor Michael Dukakis and Governor Liang Lingguang of Guangdong established sister state relations. In an effort to strengthen these ties, MOITI will soon welcome a reverse delegation of business and political leaders from Guangdong in early 2015.
Governor Deval Patrick: Transition of State Government
Governor Deval Patrick unveiled his Transition of State Government initiative with a series of transition videos to help ensure a smooth passage from his administration to Governor-elect Charlie Baker. “Congratulations to the Governor-elect, Lieutenant Governor-elect and their team on winning the election,” Governor Patrick said. “Now it’s time to prepare to govern, and we hope this website will help you and all citizens understand the substance of the work of this Administration as you assume continuing responsibility for it.”
EF Education First Opens North American Headquarters in Cambridge
(Photo Courtesy of Wilson Architects) It’s not every day that political leaders, economic development officials, tourism experts, parks advocates,and educational proponents gather to celebrate a shared enthusiasm, but such was the case this week when EF Education First officially opened its expanded North American headquarters in Cambridge. The Swedish company is a world-wide leader in educational travel and language training, with nearly 1,000 employee based in Massachusetts, and 37,000 people working in 52 countries around the world. Governor Deval Patrick, whose administration has focused on education, innovation and infrastructure as the cornerstones of economic development, told the audience he was thrilled that EF has “chosen the Commonwealth as the place for their continued expansion” in North America. The new headquarters is a public-private partnership success story. Built on land owned by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the former industrial site on the border of Cambridge and Charlestown was awarded to Education First through a competitive bidding process. The 10-floor, 125 million project consists of 230,000 square feet of office space and 31,000 square feet of public space in the company’s ground floor. It has 16 flexible workspaces on each floor, in line with the new collaborative workspace movement taking place in Massachusetts and elsewhere. The glass exterior building, designed by in-house architect Fiona Kennedy, has an open staircase inside, and features a striking glass waterfall cascading down the façade. The bottom floors house a restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking the Charles River, a bike room and Hubway bicycle station, private showers, a salon and fitness center. “Fostering this type of growth and infrastructure is evidence of how Massachusetts is a leader in economic development.” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki. As part of the project, EF has agreed to maintain and make improvements to portions of North Point Park, a public park overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Referring to the new headquarters location, Edward Hult, CEO of EF North America, said, “With new public parks, pedestrian connectivity, and billions of dollars in development activity happening on both sides of the River, it’s clear that what was once referred to as ‘the lost ½-mile of the Charles’ has been found.” Congressman Michael Capuano, who represents Cambridge as part of the Congressional 7th District, said the new facility will increase local access to EF’s many educational programs while adding jobs to the local economy. Student travel is a $30 billion industry, according to Carylann Assante, executive director of the Student & Youth and Travel Association, who told The Boston Globe that EF is one of the largest companies in this lucrative market.
Massachusetts Celebrates Global Diaspora Week, October 12-17
How can immigrant communities in the United States work closely with their respective homelands to create entrepreneurial opportunities that benefit both places? That was the poignant theme of Global Diaspora Week (October 12-17), a national conversation organized by the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Calvert Foundation. Diaspora is from the Greek word διασπορά, and refers to the “movement, migration or scattering of a people from their ancestral homeland.” Over 70 events took place across the nation, including several in Massachusetts, which helped underscore the entrepreneurial spirit, hard work and innovative ideas prevalent in immigrant communities, according to the International Diaspora Engagement Alliance. Local Chinese leaders organized the forum, Entrepreneurship Development and Opportunities for the US Chinese Diaspora at Harvard University. Hosted by the United Cultures Innovation Center for International Cooperation (UCIC) and the Harvard US-China Economic Interaction Council (HUCEIC), the all-day conference drew over 250 entrepreneurs, business leaders, public officials, students and academics for a robust discussion and exchange of ideas. Topics included Translational Medicine in the Genomics Era, US-China Capital Market Relations and Dialogue Opportunities; and Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Education, Cultural and Tourism Industry. Organizer Xin Li said she hoped the forum would “bring the Chinese community together and let the older generation pass on their experience and wisdom to the next generation” while fostering innovation and creating social engagement. Several state and local officials participated in the conference, including Tackey Chan, State Representative; Rich Elam of the Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment (MOITI); Kathleen Newell of the Massachusetts Export Center; and Jolin Zhou of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. Local Brazilian leaders Alvaro Lima and Anselmo Cassiano organized a series of four lectures at MIT and Berklee College of Music to discuss Diggai, a new initiative that seeks to aggregate and curate the cultural products of Brazilians around the world. Leading up to Global Diaspora Week, Boston hosted its 6th annual Golden Bridges conference, welcoming a delegation of officials, entrepreneurs and tourism leaders from Northwest Ireland. Drew O’Brien, head of Global Partnerships, was a guest speaker, along with Senate President Therese Murray and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. And in September, MOITI welcomed a group from Malaysia seeking to create new business and education partnerships in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts ranks eighth in the nation for newcomers, with an immigrant population that represents over 14 percent of the population. Latino and Asian-owned businesses alone employ over 50,000 Massachusetts residents, with sales of over $7 billion. Immigrants compose nearly 20 percent of the state’s workforce. Governor Deval Patrick declared Immigrant Entrepreneurship Month, June 15 – July 15, 2014, and said, “Our immigrant communities have always been an integral part of our state’s economic and cultural fabric. I am proud to recognize the hard work of our immigrant entrepreneurs who have made Massachusetts home, and whose achievements help keep us in the leadership business.” Massachusetts wants to enable foreign-born, American- educated entrepreneurs to remain in the country after they graduate. The new economic development bill, An Act to Promote Growth and Opportunity, calls for the creation of a Global Entrepreneur in Residence Program to retain and attract entrepreneurs who are growing companies and creating jobs in the state. Administered by the Mass Tech Collaborative, the program will place selected students – who are eligible for H-1B visas but unable to get them due to a federal cap – as “entrepreneurs in residence” at public and private institutions and will ensure that they continue to contribute to the Massachusetts economy. For more about the international investment opportunities in the Commonwealth, visit Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment.
Springfield Celebrates Grand Opening of UMASS Center
(Caption: Ribbon Cutting at the Opening of the UMASS Center in Springfield) The City of Springfield was full of pride this week as state and local officials opened the new University of Massachusetts Center at Tower Square. The Center, which represents a partnership between Springfield, MassMutual and Baystate Health Systems, will expand educational opportunity in the City and across the Pioneer Valley Region. Governor Deval Patrick spoke about his Administration’s mission to provide access to higher education in order to create success, wrote the Republican Newspaper. “I feel very, very strongly about the connection between great affordable education and the American Dream,” Patrick told the audience. “We have to make that accessible in every way. We have to make it affordable and we have to make it convenient.” Last May, Governor Patrick announced $5.2 million in funding to complete the construction and furnishings of the Center, which is comprised of 10 instructional rooms, including six regular classrooms, one computer classroom, and three nursing classrooms, a computer lab, breakout rooms, conference rooms and space for student counseling and public events and meetings. The 26,000 square-foot facility is located at the heart of Springfield’s downtown district, and is two blocks from City Hall and the MassMutual Center. The new center significantly expands the University’s presence in Western Massachusetts and unlocks a range of degree opportunities to students of all ages that is tailored to the meet the region’s workforce needs. UMASS President Robert L. Caret said that “The University’ first satellite center has exceeded 300 enrollments on-site as a hub for students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in order to build better lives and better communities.” For the fall 2014 semester, the Center is offering 40 courses across 10 academic programs, including: Nursing, Education, Liberal Arts, Masters of Business Administration, Cyber Security/Network Security, Landscape Architecture and Planning, Architecture, Addiction Counseling, University without Walls (a bachelor’s degree program for nontraditional learners) and seven training programs offered by other community colleges. The University also has a Welcome Center located on the first floor of Tower Square for prospective students. Greg Bialecki, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, says the new Center will unlock “a range of new educational and job training opportunities needed to fuel our innovation economy,” adding that “the center’s location in the heart of the emerging innovation district enables it to further the economic revitalization of Springfield.”
United Airlines’ Hemispheres Magazine Features Massachusetts
Check out the September 2014 issue of Hemispheres Magazine, the in-flight magazine of United Airlines. There is a 15 page spread devoted to Massachusetts in its Dossier series, which features an “in-depth overview of a region, including the unique initiatives that shape its industry and commerce as well as its influence on today’s global economy.” Both Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh are profiled in the issue. The supplement describes Massachusetts as “one of America’s favorite places to do business,” and says that Governor Patrick “leaves a state that ranks among the leaders in everything from student achievement to economic competitiveness and entrepreneurial activity.” A number of state officials are cited in the publication, including Greg Bialecki, Secretary of Housing & Economic Development; Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of Massachusetts Life Sciences, James Rooney, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority; Thomas Glynn, CEO of Massport, and Robert Caret, President of the University of Massachusetts. Among the Massachusetts companies featured are the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, Raytheon Company and Partners Healthcare. In April 2014, United Airlines opened a new concourse at Terminal B at Boston’s Logan International Airport. Governor Patrick said at the time, “With increased customer service and convenience, United’s presence in Terminal B will continue to make Boston a top destination for domestic and international travel.”
Collaborative Workspace Grants Available to Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities
(Photo: Collaborative Workspace at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville) Entrepreneurs have an exciting new opportunity to create collaborative work spaces in Gateway Cities across the Commonwealth. Thanks to the Gateway Cities Transformative Development Fund, entrepreneurs can apply for up to $2 million in matching grants to own, sponsor or operate collaborative workspace. State officials believe these spaces help spur business growth and economic activity in Gateway Cities. “Collaborative workspaces inspire communities of innovation,” says Greg Bialecki, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development. “These shared environments are hubs of economic activity, and are a very important part of our overall growth strategy.” The Gateway Cities Transformative Development Fund, totaling over $16 million, is part of An Act to Promote Economic Growth in the Commonwealth, which Governor Deval Patrick signed into law on August 13, 2014. Managed by MassDevelopment, the Fund enables equity investments and technical assistance to support transformative development in Gateway communities. “The sharing economy has driven demand for flexible, dynamic workspaces, especially in Gateway Cities,” says Marty Jones, MassDevelopment President and CEO. “We look forward to seeing the spaces that will spring from this first phase of the Transformative Development Initiative.” Interested applicants can access the Request for Proposals for the grants, which can be used for construction, improvements, or equipment for new spaces or for existing facility expansions. Collaborative workspaces often feature open floor plans, community meeting spaces, and other features to encourage connections between tenants. Earlier this spring, Housing & Economic Development staff held workshops across the state to familiarize prospective developers, operators, funders and public officials with collaborative space opportunities. Gateway Cities are defined as having: a population greater than 35,000 but less than 250,000; a median household income below the state average; and a population whose rate of attainment of a college degree is below the state average. Massachusetts’ new economic development plan has been praised recently by Inc. Magazine for supporting “business communities outside of the traditional business thoroughfares of Boston and Cambridge.” And Fortune Magazine praised Massachusetts for creating “a model based on public-private partnership, a promising blueprint other states should follow.”
Museums Showcase Massachusetts’ Cultural and Historical Richness
(Caption: A Model of the Whaler ‘Lagoda‘. Photo Courtesy of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.) by Kennedy Stomps From the heights of the Berkshires to the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts is a museum lover’s haven, offering an inspiring array of museums that reflect the state’s cultural richness and diversity. They range from world renowned museums like the Museum of Fine Arts, Harvard Museum of Natural History and Mass MoCA, to local favorites like the Fuller Craft Museum, Museum of Russian Icons, and the Fruitlands Museum, and even the downright quirky—like the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History, the Plumbing Museum and the Edward Gorey House. The Commonwealth’s commitment to the cultural arts is a longstanding tradition. In the Massachusetts Constitution, John Adams writes that it “shall be the duty of legislatures…in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences…[and] to encourage private societies and public institutions.” Today, the more-than 500 museums in Massachusetts contribute millions of dollars to local and state economies, and provide hundreds of jobs in their respective regions, while contributing to the state’s creative economy and tourism industry. Overall, cultural institutions attract 14 million visitors to the state each year, generating a total annual economic impact of over $3.4 billion. Visitors can go inside Norman Rockwell’s studio, explore the country’s largest collection of textiles and tools and take in works by Monet, Degas and Renoir here in Massachusetts. And with museums featuring collections of Japanese Samurai armor, Asian and African art and Greek and Roman sculpture, you don’t need a passport to see some of the finest art from around the world. Those interested in the rich history of the Commonwealth can step aboard the Mayflower II or into a 17th century English town, meet the organizers of the Boston Tea Party, learn about whaling and the maritime tradition and experience life in a historic Shaker village. Sports fans will definitely want to take a “time out” to visit the Naismith Basketball Museum, Volleyball Hall of Fame, Golf Museum and TD Gardens Sports Museum. Finally, a trip to Massachusetts wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of the state’s many Presidential sites. Visitors can check out the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Adams National Historic Park, the John F. Kennedy Birthplace, the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum. In September, the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism is presenting an exhibit of Massachusetts museums at the Newton Free Library. The display will be located in the main Atrium of the library which is located at 330 Homer St. in Newton Center. The library is open Monday-Thursday 9:00 am-9:00 pm, Friday 9:00 am-6:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 am -5:00 pm and the display is free and open to the public, so stop by!
Massachusetts – The State of Jazz
(Caption: Jazz musicians Grace Kelly and Jason Palmer) Back in the 14th century, when Marco Polo established the Silk Road trade route between Europe and China, he was opening up new connections not just in commerce but also in culture. With new direct flights between Boston Logan International Airport and Panama City, Dubai, Istanbul and Beijing launching over the past year, the Silk Road metaphor seems apt today. Massachusetts has long been a port of call for commerce and tourism, but also a crossroads for immigration, innovation and ideas. We pride ourselves on being in the mix. Jazz itself is a well-traveled Silk Road where artistic expression, cultural traditions and creative ideas are happily exchanged. From its humble beginnings, jazz has carved out an intrepid path that winds its way throughout the world, carrying musical riches far beyond its original borders, and returning home with equal riches from cultures around the world. The 6th annual MassJazz Guide expounds upon this theme by showcasing some of the international musicians who make up the state’s jazz community, including: . Xiongguan Zhang of China, a guitarist from Shanghai Conservatory of Music who is studying jazz at the New England Conservatory. . Utar Artun of Turkey, a composer and multi-instrumentalist at Hacettepe University who came to Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship, and is studying for his master’s degree at New England Conservatory. . Panos Panay, a native of Cyprus who is heading up the new Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship at Berklee College of Music. Panos started Sonicbids, a leading platform for bands to book gigs and market themselves online. . Emilio Lyons, who hails from Salerno, Italy, was recently honored by the Jazz Journalists Association and JazzBoston for his decades-long work as the legendary saxophone repairman at Rayburn Music. The 2014 MassJazz Guide, published by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, celebrates Massachusetts’ robust jazz scene, which includes festivals, jazz clubs and educational programs. There is a vibrant grassroots scene, including jazz drummers Bart Weisman and Stanley Swann, who keep the music robust here in Massachusetts; radio hosts Christopher Lydon and Jose Masso, who share their love and knowledge of jazz with their listeners; and music emissaries Sue Auclair and Fred Taylor, whose influence in the jazz world far exceeds this locality. Jazz is an important part of the cultural and artistic environment that helps make Massachusetts a great place to live, work, study and visit. It is part of the Massachusetts creative economy, which employs over 100,000 people and generates over $1 billion in economic impact for the state. MassJazz Guide is available at visitor centers, jazz venues and college campuses across the state. Find up to date details on live jazz in Massachusetts at MassJazz.com.
Massachusetts builds up its global profile in life sciences
(Massachusetts Life Sciences Pavilion at the Bio 2014 Conference) Building on the Commonwealth’s robust life sciences industry and long-term strategy for growth, Governor Deval Patrick announced the launch of the Universal Partnerships (UP) Program, a new initiative by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) to help fund Massachusetts companies that are forming R&D collaborations with life science organizations throughout the world. The announcement came at the 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego, where a strong delegation of scientists, entrepreneurs, business leaders and public officials made the case that Massachusetts is the best place in the world to be for the life sciences industry. “We invest in the life sciences because we are choosing to shape our own future,” said Governor Patrick. “I commend the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center on creating this unique and forward-looking international collaboration.” In its first year of the UP program, the Center will award grants ranging from $50,000 to $200,000. An eligible project will focus on a milestone within a research & development collaboration, and will consist of one Massachusetts company and one organization outside of the United States. The organization could include a company, an academic institution, a hospital or a research institute. Through the MLSC, Massachusetts is investing $1 billion over 10 years in the growth of the state’s life sciences supercluster. These investments are being made under the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, proposed by Governor Patrick in 2007, and passed by the State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Patrick in 2008. Greg Bialecki, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, noted, “Massachusetts is committed to seeking new models of innovation to drive future economic growth,” adding that the program “expands the footprint for collaboration across the globe.” Susan Windham-Bannister, Ph.D., President and CEO of MLSC, said the UP program “is based on our strong belief that knowledge creation occurs worldwide and global collaboration to share that knowledge will accelerate innovation and economic development.” “Collaboration is key in the life sciences, and the announcement of this new Universal Partnerships program is incredibly exciting,” said Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray. “I look forward to seeing the projects and businesses that result and their impact here and abroad.” Several of Massachusetts’ overseas trading partners – United Arab Emirates, Great Britain and Japan – expressed support for the new program. “Building and maintaining international cooperation through partnerships is a high priority for the United Arab Emirates, and specifically, DuBiotech,” said Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, Executive Director of DuBiotech. “The MLSC encourages worldwide collaboration in the life sciences industry, and DuBiotech, the Dubai Biotechnology and Research Park, is proud to be a part of it.” “One Nucleus is proud to have a highly collaborative and enjoyable relationship with Massachusetts – fuelled by a meeting with Governor Patrick in 2009 and which has seen a range of tangible activities with him, the MA Life Sciences Center and MassBIO since then for the benefit of companies on both sides of the pond. Long may it continue,” said Harriet Fear, British Business Ambassador and Chief Executive, One Nucleus. Sachiko Yoshimura, Chief Executive Director, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO LA), said, “Japanese companies and the government of Japan have extensively invested in life sciences, and most recently are intensely focused on regenerative medicine. Establishing a flourishing relationship with MLSC will surely accelerate R&D and trade, and we very much look forward to our collaboration.” JETRO, representing the government of Japan, recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment to promote business activities between the two places. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) is an investment agency that supports life sciences innovation, research, development and commercialization. The MLSC is charged with implementing a 10-year, $1-billion, state-funded investment initiative. These investments create jobs and support advances that improve health and well-being. The MLSC offers the nation’s most comprehensive set of incentives and collaborative programs targeted to the life sciences ecosystem. These programs propel the growth that has made Massachusetts the global leader in life sciences. The MLSC creates new models for collaboration and partners with organizations, both public and private, around the world to promote innovation in the life sciences. For more information about Universal Partnerships, visit Massachusetts Life Sciences Center or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Magna Carta Comes to Massachusetts
(Museum of Fine Arts, photo by Phyllis Cahaly, MOTT) Visitors to Massachusetts who are intrigued by the state’s illustrious history, especially its role in the Revolutionary War and the founding of the nation, will have one more reason to visit this summer. The Magna Carta, one of the world’s great documents on behalf of liberty, freedom and the rights of individuals, is on display in Massachusetts this summer. The Magna Carta: Cornerstone of Liberty, runs at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston from July 1 – September 1, 2014. The exhibit includes one of only four remaining copies of the charter, which was written in England nearly 800 years ago. Written in 1215, the Magna Carta became the inspiration for both the Massachusetts Constitution and for the Constitution of the United States, as the supreme law of the land, and subsequently for the American Bill of Rights, which protected the rights of all citizens. The Magna Carta provided the framework for “A government of laws, and not of men,” John Adams wrote at the time. The exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, in partnership with the Massachusetts Historical Society and Lincoln Cathedral in Lincolnshire, England, with support by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. State Representative Cory Atkins (D-Concord), co-chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, was instrumental in working with the MFA and Lincoln Cathedral to secure the loan of the Magna Carta. In addition to the rare charter, the MFA is also putting on display some of its prized possessions, including the museum’s Sons of Liberty Bowl, created by Paul Revere in 1768, as well as sculptures, portraits and historical documents related to the original American colonies. And the Massachusetts Historical Society is loaning two manuscript copies of the Declaration of Independence and other documents of from the 18th century. The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau has put together a Magna Carta Boston History Pass for the exhibit that includes free admission to several sites along Boston’s Freedom Trail. According to the Secretary of State’s Office, the Magna Carta was one of the early symbols here in Massachusetts. When Bostonians stopped recognizing the authority of the British Crown in the 1770s, the General Court instructed a committee to design a new Colony Seal. The temporary seal that was approved depicted a man holding the Magna Carta, engraved by Paul Revere himself. Massachusetts visitors and residents will have a second chance to see the exhibit, since it travels to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown after September 1, before moving to the Library of Congress in Washington DC. For more information on visiting Massachusetts this summer or any time of the year, go to MassVacation.com.
Massachusetts’ Economy Gets Creative
(Caption: Governor Deval Patrick addresses the Creative Economy Summit) When it comes to the creative economy, Massachusetts gets it! With over 100,000 workers and a $1 billion statewide economic impact, the creative industries in Massachusetts are an integral part of the Massachusetts economy. Building upon this success was the focus of Massachusetts’ recent Creative Economy Summit, held on June 12 at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design in Boston. Leaders from across the state convened to network, collaborate and envision ways in which the creative and innovative economies can intersect and continue to fuel each other. The impressive turnout included experts and advocates from the performing and visual arts, digital gaming, film industry, architecture, publishing and design, alongside entrepreneurs, innovators, and government officials. The morning kicked off with a welcome by Dawn Barrett, president of Mass College of Art & Design, and an introduction by Greg Bialecki, secretary of the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, followed by Helen Fruscio, the state’s Creative Economy Industry Director. “The focus of the summit was on uniting the creative industries and ensuring interactivity among the attendees” says Fruscio. “We wanted everyone to think of new ways to cross-collaborate.” For example, the morning panel, “Future Trends of the Creative Industries,” was a seminar on cross-collaboration, with experts like Lisa Strout, director of the Massachusetts Film Office, Panos Panay, the head of Creative Entrepreneurship at Berklee College of Music, Jon Radoff, founder of Disruptor Beam and Laura Fitton of HubSpot sharing their insights. At the afternoon session, ”Creative Capital,” Jerry Bird of MassVentures, Dan Sullivan of Crowdly, Anita Brearton of Golden Seeds, Bill Warner of Avid Technology and Neil Martin of Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation talked about strategies for funding and bringing creative ideas to market. The panel discussions were followed by the popular ‘unconference’ gatherings with crowd-sourced themed discussions, allowing the participants to gather into smaller groups and discuss a variety of topics. Governor Deval Patrick gave the closing remarks at the Summit, discussing how the Administration’s investments in education, innovation and infrastructure have supported innovation and the creative economy in Massachusetts. Patrick has led the way in making Massachusetts one of the nation’s most creative states. In 2007 he established the position of creative Economy Industry Director at the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. He helped institute the Creative Economy Council, which develops a statewide strategy for growing the creative economy. He launched the Creative Economy Network, which tracks progress and promotes efforts to support the creative economy on the local, regional and state-wide level, and CreativeNEXT listening tour, a business development program that helps owners of small and medium-sized creative businesses quickly access resources and advice to help grow their enterprises by meeting with an expert panel. At the summit, Governor Patrick reminded participants that “Creativity is central to all that we’re trying to do,” adding, “The innovation economy is also artists, novelists and architects. It’s a source of our growth and civilization.”
Massachusetts Celebrates Immigrant Entrepreneurship Month
(Caption: Josiane Martinez, Office For Refugees and Immigrants) (Photo: Jun Tsuboike / Governor’s Office) Governor Deval Patrick celebrated Immigrant Entrepreneurship Month this week at the New American Center in Lynn where he heard first-hand accounts from local immigrants about their entrepreneurial successes in Massachusetts. “Our immigrant communities have always been an integral part of our state’s economic and cultural fabric,” Governor Patrick told the audience. “I am proud to recognize the hard work of our immigrant entrepreneurs who have made Massachusetts home, and whose achievements help keep us in the leadership business.” Immigrants in Massachusetts have many notable accomplishments of which to be proud. 17.5% of the state’s business owners are immigrants, and they generate $2.8 billion in income for Massachusetts each year, according to the Immigration Policy Center in Washington, DC. There are 41,248 foreign students in Massachusetts, who contribute $1.5 billion to the state’s economy in tuition, fees and living expenses, according to the NAFSA Association of International Educators. These foreign students help fuel the state’s innovation economy, since 38.7% of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduates are foreign born, as are 49.1% of the state’s engineering PhDs. Immigrants co-founded over 25% of the state’s biotechnology companies, notes the Immigrant Learning Center in Malden. Massachusetts ranks eighth in the nation for newcomers, with an immigrant population that represents over 14 percent of the population and nearly 18% of the state’s workforce, according to the U.S. Census. Latino and Asian-owned businesses alone employ over 50,000 Massachusetts residents, with sales of over $7 billion. In May, the Patrick Administration announced a federal grant to enhance vocational, educational and citizenship assistance to refugees and immigrants in Massachusetts. The nearly $400,000 grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) will place 90 AmeriCorps members across Massachusetts to provide training and support to 5,000 refugees and immigrants over the next three years. The Governor’s proposed Act to Promote Growth and Opportunity bill before the Massachusetts legislature has two key elements that would support the immigrant community. One is an investment in workforce tools and training in Gateway Cities as a way to stimulate the economy. The other is the Global Entrepreneur Residence Program, which would allow qualified, highly skilled, international students currently in Massachusetts to stay here after graduation if they are starting or growing a business. The Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants is a good place to start to find out more about what the Commonwealth is doing to promote full participation of refugees and immigrants as self-sufficient individuals and families in the economic, social and civic life of Massachusetts.
Massachusetts’ Sandbox Summit – Entrepreneurship for All
(Caption: Desh Deshpande, founder of Merrimack Valley Sandbox) How do we foster the next generation of entrepreneurs in Massachusetts? One sure way is to bring budding entrepreneurs together with seasoned entrepreneurs, business executives, government officials and academic leaders who are willing to share expertise, insights and encouragement about what it takes to thrive in the state’s robust innovation community. Such was the setting at the second annual Merrimack Valley Sandbox Summit in Lowell this week, an inspiring gathering of creative thinkers, generous mentors and willing collaborators who are working to bring their ideas to market, thereby spurring economic growth at local and regional levels. Over 250 people attended the two-day summit, held at University of Massachusetts in Lowell. Keynote speakers included Deval Patrick, governor of Massachusetts; Gururaj (Desh) Deshpande, founder of the Deshpande Foundation and the Merrimack Valley Sandbox; Akhil Nigam, founder and president of MassChallenge; and Poonam Ahluwalia, executive director of Youth Trade and YES Campaign. Governor Patrick said that expanding opportunity for everyone across the state was a key to economic growth. By focusing on state investments in education, innovation and infrastructure, the Patrick Administration has a deliberate strategy to stimulate growth. “As I see it, growth is a choice…not something we leave to chance, not simply something we hope for, it’s something we work for and choose to bring about,” Patrick said. “Entrepreneurship isn’t just technology – it is creative problem solving in context,” said Deshpande, a theme that echoed throughout the summit as speakers and participants agreed that entrepreneurial opportunities were to be found in all sectors of society and industry. This year’s theme was “Entrepreneurship for All,” which Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki described as “a robust strategy for how we grow the Commonwealth’s economy. Programs like the Merrimack Valley Sandbox are bringing people together focused on choosing growth and innovation, enhancing the competitiveness of the state’s innovation industry for generations to come.” A highlight of the summit was the pitch contests, which featured the region’s top entrepreneurs squaring off against each other for a chance to win cash prizes to fuel their work. Participants said the summit was an ideal opportunity for like-minded individuals to gather and share information, ideas and encouragement in a room full of other focused, creative, problem-solving people. “Massachusetts prides itself on our collaborative approach to economic development, an effort led by the Patrick Administration and the Legislature,” said Patrick Larkin, Director of the Innovation Institute at MassTech Collaborative. “That spirit of cooperation and inclusion is fully on display here today.” “Entrepreneurship can be lonely,” David Parker, Sandbox’s executive director, told the Lowell Sun. “It’s important for people to come together, share ideas, meet each other and look for resources.” The Sandbox Summit was organized by the Merrimack Valley Sandbox, with sponsorship support from the Deshpande Foundation and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.
LegoLand Discovery Center Opens in Somerville Today
(Caption: Iconic Landmarks of Boston, made with 3 million lego bricks) Photo courtesy of MOTT, Phyllis M. Cahaly If you build it, they will come, so they can build something too! That’s the expectation of the LegoLand Discovery Center in Massachusetts, which opens today in the new Assembly Row complex in Somerville. Expect to see lots of families and earnest young builders descending on the new Center in the coming months, to hone their building skills and to have a lot of fun! Hailed as the company’s largest LegoLand Discovery Center in the world, it is the sixth center to open in North America, and already tickets are going fast. The buzz started in January when Lego officials held a two day competition at the Boston Public Library to find the best lego builder. Over 100 competitors participated, and the ultimate winner was Ian Coffey of Albany, now the newly hired Master Model Builder at the Somerville store! The new center has great educational and tourism value, according to Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, as group tours and school classes begin to discover it in the months ahead. The LegoLand Discovery Center is part of a much larger and exciting building project called Assembly Row in Somerville. The $1.36 billion transit-oriented development of 56.2 acres can accommodate 1.75 million square feet of office space, 852,000 square feet of retail stores, restaurants and a cinema, a 200 room hotel, and 2,100 new residential units. In addition, Partners HealthCare is moving 4,500 employees into a new office building in 2016. The Massachusetts Office of Housing & Economic Development, which oversees the state’s economic development plan,has committed $27.5 million in funding to Assembly Row through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program. The funds support construction of a new MBTA Orange Line station and infrastructure needed to complete this development. These types of economic development projects are part of the state’s core strategy of long-term investments in education, innovation and infrastructure. Empowering regions is part of the economic development plan too, and EOHED works closely with local municipal and regional leaders to ensure that they have the means to attract and encourage business investment and job creation. Last year, EOHED launched the MetroNorth Initiative, a consortium of ten Greater Boston communities that include Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Revere, Somerville and Winthrop, plus two Boston neighborhoods, Charlestown and East Boston. These are communities where businesses settle and where people live, work and play, and therefore have enormous potential for smart and dynamic growth. For more information about Massachusetts’ economic development plan, go to Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century,
Congratulations Massachusetts Class of 2014
(Caption: Happy Graduates of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, May 9, 2014) Congratulations to the Class of 2014 graduates in colleges and universities across Massachusetts. The entire state is aglow with jubilant students, proud parents and satisfied teachers. Everywhere you turn there are commencement ceremonies, caps flung in the air and stories of eager grads ready to take on the world. This year’s commencement speakers have ranged from public leaders like Governor Deval Patrick, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, to tennis great Billie Jean King, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and comedian Jay Leno. Here is a list of 2014 Commencement Speakers in Massachusetts, published by Boston.com. Massachusetts prides itself as a bastion of outstanding colleges and universities, medical centers and research facilities that attract students from around the world. With over 110 public and private colleges and universities, Massachusetts’ educational traditions date back to 1636 when Harvard University became the first established university in the Thirteen Colonies. Today, nearly 40% of Massachusetts residents have a college degree, giving it the highest percentage of college graduates in the nation, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts (AICUM) reports Massachusetts ranks first in the nation in percentage of students graduating from independent colleges in four years. Independent schools have a $25 billion annual economic impact on Massachusetts. In addition, Massachusetts serves about 260,000 students at 29 public schools, divided into three segments: 15 community colleges, nine state universities and five University of Massachusetts campuses. Here is a full list of Massachusetts’ public colleges and universities. In FY 2008, Governor Patrick and the Legislature obtained passage of a $2.2 billion higher education bond bill as part of the Governor’s 10-year education reform initiative. By FY14 the Commonwealth ranked among the top five states in the nation in the year-to-year increase in the state appropriation for public campuses, Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner of Ma Higher Education, reported recently. The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism has compiled a list of all colleges and universities in Massachusetts, separated by region. You’ll find information about the schools, and also valuable information about local transportation, seasonal activities, and special events that give you a flavor of each school. It’s a great resource for parents making their first trip to Massachusetts to explore potential colleges and universities for their children.
Baby Boomers Visit Boston for AARP Expo, May 8-10
The Baby-boomers are coming to Boston! They are converging from all over the nation for the upcoming AARP National Event & Expo, entitled Life@ 50+, taking place May 8-10, 2014 at the Boston Convention & Exposition Center (BCEC). Organized by the American Association for Retired Persons, Life@ 50+ is a big, boisterous occasion, with three days of events, activities, seminars and products designed especially for this affluent demographic of older Americans. Life@50+ is an expo show geared to consumers, and admission is only $25 ($35 if you’re not an AARP member). About 15,000 people are expected to attend the expo, and that’s good news for the Massachusetts economy, since older visitors tend to have more disposable money to spend on hotels, restaurants and souvenirs. In Massachusetts, 37% of domestic tourists who visit are age 55 or older, according to the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT). AARP itself is a formidable organization, with over 37 million members. Nearly 55% of AARP members are college educated, and over 60% enjoy traveling. “That’s one reason why MOTT will have a booth at the expo, where it expects to distribute over 3,000 pieces of literature touting Massachusetts as a vacation destination,” says Strategic Planning Manager Darrell LeMar. Joining MOTT are regional tourism councils from around the state who will help market Massachusetts to visitors from across America. An A-List of inspirational speakers and entertainers include former First Lady Laura Bush; Boston Marathon heroes Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman; performers Linda Ronstadt, The Moody Blues, Mary Wilson and the Spinners; television personalities Whoopi Goldberg and Massachusetts native Jay Leno; and sports stars like Celtics legend Bill Russell; hockey Olympian Mike Eruzione; NFL Hall of Fame quarterbacks Steve Grogan and Dan Marino and former Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant. There’s a strong community-service element to the show as well. On Thursday, May 8, Governor Deval Patrick is joining hundreds of AARP volunteers who are going into Boston’s neighborhoods for a day of service, to help with home and school projects that include landscaping, mentoring, greening projects, community gardens and senior centers. To the AARP delegates this weekend, we say, welcome, stay awhile and please, come back soon! For more information about visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com.
Framingham State University Opens Entrepreneur Innovation Center
(Caption: Official Opening of the Entrepreneur Innovation Center, April 22, 2014) By Dr. Robert Krim There has been a recent wave of shared workspaces designed to support start-up companies and spur economic growth popping up largely in Cambridge and Boston. But until recently, no center for innovation existed in the Framingham-Natick region along Route 9, despite it being a global hub for high-tech and Fortune 500 companies, such as Bose, Staples, Boston Scientific, and MathWorks. To fill this void, Framingham State University (FSU) has launched an Entrepreneur Innovation Center designed to serve local entrepreneurs who don’t want to travel into the city. The official opening of the Center took place on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, and was attended by Framingham State Interim President Dr. Robert Martin, along with college officials and students, local public officials and business leaders from the region. “MetroWest is the perfect location for a center like this one, to assist in the birth of new companies and new opportunities for students to learn what it takes to launch a business,” according to Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Freeland. “The timing is perfect for a public campus such as Framingham State to raise its profile as a center for innovation.” The Center’s workspace, located in the Maynard Building right off Route 9 in Framingham, features large windows looking out onto the town’s 300-year-old Village Green. It provides local entrepreneurs space to work on their innovative business ideas and access to FSU student interns and faculty. It’s an exciting resource that stands to benefit the entire community. For a $95 fee per month, entrepreneurs and students receive access to a shared workspace with afternoon snacks and espresso, free parking, and weekly visits from a variety of lawyers, investors and accountants to help these one-person firms gain the knowledge they need to succeed in the first tough years. Dr. Erastus Ndinguri, an FSU professor who holds a PhD in Entrepreneurship, serves as the Center’s Assistant Director. There are already six entrepreneurs and seven student interns working out of the facility, half of whom are women and half who are recent immigrants to the United States. The average age of the entrepreneurs is 32. The group includes Raghu Nandan, who is launching Soltrix Technology Solutions, Inc., which provides custom software design and development services. “The center has been a valuable resource for me already and I look forward to being a part of it for a long time to come,” Nandan said. Anyone interested in receiving more information about the Innovation Entrepreneur Center can e-mail email@example.com or visit www.framingham.edu. *** Dr. Robert Krim is Director of the Entrepreneur Innovation Center and also oversees the University’s Entrepreneurship academic concentration. A MetroWest native, Dr. Krim was the founder and director of a Boston-based research partnership focused on what drives innovation in the Greater Boston region.
Governor Patrick Announces Funding to Complete UMass Center at Springfield
Governor Deval Patrick today announced $5.2 million in funding to complete the construction and furnishings for the University of Massachusetts’ new UMass Center at Springfield, located at Tower Square, downtown Springfield. The grant – funded through the FY2014 capital plan – will help UMass ensure completion of construction in time for the fall 2014 semester. “This new Center will provide vital education and skills training resources in downtown Springfield, and open up new educational and job opportunities for the residents of Springfield and beyond,” Governor Patrick said. UMass President Robert L. Caret said the new Center “is not only an educational collaboration but also an economic initiative, a downtown revitalization initiative, while at its core an investment in people’s lives and their futures.” The project is part of Governor Patrick’s core strategy of long-term investments in education, innovation and infrastructure as the way to grow the Massachusetts economy and create opportunities for all of its citizens. That strategy is outlined in the economic development plan, Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century. Located in the heart of Springfield’s downtown district, the 26,000 square-foot facility is two blocks from City Hall and the MassMutual Center. It will significantly expand the University’s presence in western Massachusetts and introduce degree opportunities to students of all ages that will be tailored to the meet the region’s workforce needs. “Skilled workers, especially in growing industries like IT and advanced manufacturing, are critical to Springfield’s economic development,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. “The new UMass Center at Springfield will partner with MassMutual, Baystate Health Systems and Springfield residents to expand opportunity in the city.” The Center will also give access to students who are taking UMass courses online. The center is comprised of ten large, instructional rooms, including three nursing classrooms, one computer lab, two conference rooms, seven small meeting rooms, and space for student counseling and public events and meetings. UMass plans to open the Center with classes by faculty from the four undergrad UMass campuses, in partnership with Holyoke Community College and Springfield Technical Community College. The Center is scheduled to fully open at the end of August, in time for the fall 2014 semester, but the university has already opened a Welcome Center on the first floor of Tower Square where prospective students can find information about the fall courses.
Massachusetts Celebrates International Jazz Day, April 30
(Caption: Jazz Trumpeter Jason Palmer) Massachusetts is celebrating International Jazz Day on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 with a series of special activities across the Commonwealth. The global testimony to jazz is the culmination of jazz appreciation month across the United States, sponsored each April by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Earlier this month, Governor Deval Patrick issued a proclamation declaring April as Jazz Month in Massachusetts, in recognition of the state’s vibrant jazz scene and its distinguished tradition of supporting jazz and producing world-renowned artists. International Jazz Day is being celebrated locally at Emmanuel Church, located at 15 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay at 7:00 p.m. on April 30. It’s a special concert organized by JazzBoston, a non-profit group that actively promotes jazz throughout the year, as part of its 8th annual JazzWeek. The concert is free and open to the public. The keynote speaker and featured performer is jazz pianist Danilo Perez, the Panama-born musician, educator, and social activists who heads the Global Jazz Institute at Berklee College of Music. He’ll perform his ‘three dimensional’ music, which weaves together jazz and Pan-American folk traditions with European classical music. The concert also features local performers like Either/Orchestra, Ken Fields, Jason Palmer and more. You can find a schedule of performers at Emmanuel Church plus a calendar of jazz events taking place during JazzWeek, which runs through May 4, 2014. International Jazz Day was first introduced in 2011 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and has become a global tradition that celebrates one of America’s original and distinctive art forms. This year Osaka, Japan is the official host city of International Jazz Day, with a special concert featuring jazz pianist Herbie Hancock and other great musicians from around the world. Massachusetts is one of the only states in America whose tourism agency actively promotes jazz year round to the convention and visitors industry. The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism helped launch MassJazz in 2009 to promote the state’s many jazz festivals, concerts, campus events, and other jazz activities taking place from Boston to the Berkshires, from Cape Cod to the Merrimack Valley and everywhere in between. The jazz scene is propelled here by the world-class jazz studies programs at Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory, UMASS/Amherst, and almost two dozen other jazz programs. These programs attract aspiring musicians from around the world, contributing to the state’s reputation as an international crossroads for culture and learning. Jazz, along with other performing arts genres, is part of Massachusetts’ creative economy, which employs over 100,000 people and contributes $1 billion to the state’s economy, according to Helena Fruscio, director of the state’s Creative Industries efforts. If you’re looking for more information about Massachusett’s jazz scene, check out MassJazz.com any time of the year. Happy listening!
National Library Week in Massachusetts, April 13-19
(Caption: The Bates Reading Room at the Boston Public Library) Did you know that Massachusetts can proudly claim the nation’s first public library and also the first membership library in the original thirteen colonies? And that we have a presidential library, some of the world’s best university libraries, two federal archives, and the world’s largest repository of books for the blind and deaf? Those facts are worth mentioning as we celebrate National Library Week, an annual appreciation of the important role libraries play in our society, and the value Massachusetts places on education, learning and the free exchange of ideas. The celebration has been organized nationally by the American Library Association since 1958. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is the state agency that supports, improves and promotes library services throughout the state. Massachusetts has over 370 public libraries and 1,400 academic and specialized libraries throughout the Commonwealth. Here are just a few of the highlights: The Boston Athenaeum, at 8 ½ Beacon Street near the Massachusetts State House, was created in 1807 as the first membership library in the American colonies. The Athenaeum quickly became a centerpiece for the Bay Colony’s cultural, educational, artistic and publishing pursuits. Today it remains a vibrant, important center for scholars, bibliophiles and community groups. The Boston Public Library opened its doors in 1848, thanks to legislation created and enacted by the Great and General Court of Massachusetts. It was the first large public library in the United States, and was initially referred to as the people’s palace, since it was open to everyone. The Samuel P. Hayes Research Library & Perkins Archives is regarded as the world’s largest collection of non-medical books about blindness and deafness. The library was founded in 1880, as part of Boston’s Perkins School for the Blind. The State Library of Massachusetts, located at the State House, has a vast collection of important government documents dating back to the founding of the nation. It also has official documents pertaining to Massachusetts’ participation in various wars, and all of the regulations and laws passed by the Massachusetts Legislature in its history. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum at Columbia Point in Dorchester is a federal repository of the papers and holdings of President Kennedy and his administration. The JFK is a treasure trove of information about the state’s native son, and also materials on mid-20th century politics in America. The National Archives hold the permanent archival records of the federal government. Massachusetts is fortunate to have two of the thirteen regional facilities located around the country, in Waltham and Pittsfield. The Massachusetts Health Sciences Library Network is a consortium of libraries that include medical research centers and hospitals, publishing companies and college libraries with significant collections in health sciences. You can find more about the state’s libraries by visiting the Massachusetts Library System and Massachusetts Library Association. You can search for libraries by topics or by town here.
Pax East 2014 – Future of Gaming is Now
Digital gaming is big business. If you need reassurance on this point, then consider PAX East 2014, which took place at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center over the weekend of April 11-13, 2014. Over 70,000 people attended the three-day show, not just from Massachusetts and New England, but from across North America and indeed, from around the world. Forbes Magazine notes that the coveted three-day passes sold out in less than three minutes! The convention center occasionally looked like a movie set as thousands of participants arrived in elaborate costumes from their favorite video games. Superheroes and fantasy characters blended in with thousands of students, young professionals, gaming designers and industry executives, all there to watch, learn, share, compete, and partake in this massive celebration of games. Massachusetts has a stake in the $67 billion gaming industry, says Helena Fruscio, director of Creative Industries, a state-wide initiative to tap into the growing sector of creative arts blossoming across the Commonwealth. As part of the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, Fruscio’s job is to identify, unify and strengthen all of the creative industries in Massachusetts, from performing arts and filmmaking to publishing and digital games. This year, 38 Massachusetts companies exhibited at the show, said Tim Loew, executive director of Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDigi). The state-designated organization stimulates collaborative efforts among academia, entrepreneurs, state government and the gaming industry while promoting Massachusetts as a place well-positioned for growth in this burgeoning field. Loew said the MassDigi booth bustled all weekend. “We had drop-in mentoring for aspiring game developers of all ages, game demos from local companies Little Worlds Interactive, gameblyr, Moonshot Games and Catlateral Damage, area college and university students, special international friends in the Swiss Gaming Corner from swissnex Boston and more,” he said. PAX East 2014 wasn’t just about game-playing; there were nearly 200 panel discussions, ranging from “Land My Job! Inside Advice in Getting into the Game Industry,” to “The Sports Video Game Crisis.” And a number of universities – including Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Becker College, Fitchburg State University and other schools – were on hand to discuss their digital gaming courses and programs. One educational program that attracted attention was MassDiGI’s Summer Innovation Program (SIP), a twelve-week long paid internship of interest to college and university students from around the country who are studying game development. “Students work on teams, under the guidance of professional game industry producers and mentors with the objective of publishing a game,” Loew says about the highly competitive internships. “This year SIP received applications from 31 different academic institutions.” Massachusetts ranks in the top five most creative and innovative clusters of game developers in the country, Loew reckons. “With over 125 studios across the Commonwealth, Massachusetts game developers are building games for smartphones and tablets, personal computers and consoles, and for entertainment as well as education and other markets. And, with more people across the world playing more games on more devices than ever before, Massachusetts game developers are well-positioned for growth.”
10,000 + Science Teachers Meet in Boston
Last week over 11,500 science teachers from around the nation and places like Canada, the United Kingdom and China came to Boston for the National Science Teachers Association’s annual convention. The theme of this year’s conference was “Leading a Science Revolution,” an appropriate nod to Boston’s own revolutionary history and Massachusetts’ cutting edge innovative spirit. The conference was held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in Boston’s Seaport District, where hundreds of workshops, lectures and forums took place throughout the day, alongside a well-stocked science bookstore, and an exhibit hall with the latest science products and teaching tools. In addition to the conference hall activities, there were dozens of field trips across the state as well. Delegates took four field trips to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where they learned about DNA Proteins, Aeronautics, Augmented Reality games, and interactive video STEM Lessons. They traveled to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod and to the New Bedford Whaling Museum to study marine science. And they visited the Christa McAuliffe Center in Framingham to take a simulated spaceflight mission in the Challenger Learning Center. And locally, the teachers took trips to the Museum of Science, New England Aquarium and the Arnold Arboretum. One of the big topics of conversation was the “Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), “a set of voluntary, rigorous, internationally bench-marked standards for K-12 science education. These standards are being developed by a national consortium of science and engineering experts, K-12 and higher education teachers and the science industries, working closely with twenty-six states, including Massachusetts. The goal is to make American children scientifically literate going forward. So far, eleven states and the District of Columbia have adopted the standards, according to Kate Falk, senior manager of public relations at the National Science Teachers Association. The NSTA has more details. The discussions around STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education were relevant to Massachusetts, since our state has been a leader in developing this curriculum. Governor Deval Patrick created the Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council in October 2009, and since then the state has worked with public officials to advocate for increased funding for secondary school students. When the Council last met in March 2014, Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III discussed a bill he co-sponsored in Congress, the STEM Gateways Act, which if enacted would reach underrepresented groups such as girls, minorities and economically disadvantaged students. One of the interesting workshops at the convention was “Moving from STEM to STEAM,” which discussed the recent movement underway to add art to the STEM curriculum, making for a more interdisciplinary approach to learning. A number of awards were given out during the conference, and Gary Garber, Science Teacher at Boston University Academy, won a Vernier Technology Award for his use of sensors – including Photogate, Motion Detector and Accelerometer – as well as computer modeling to teach his students physics. And three Massachusetts science teachers – Janice Lewis of Lawrence School in Falmouth; Laura Rossier of FA Day Middle School in Newtonville; and Jacey Vaughan of Keverian School in Everett – won a Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award for new teachers. The National Science Teachers Association last held its national convention here in 2008, and we’re glad they returned. Since 2000 Boston has seen the largest growth in convention market share of any U.S. City. You can find a schedule of upcoming conventions by visiting MassConvention.com.
Massachusetts Hosts Economic Development Summit on April 10
Greg Bialecki, secretary of the state’s Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, has invited leaders from business, government and academia to convene this Thursday, April 10, 2014, for Massachusetts’ annual economic development summit. Over 200 participants are attending the all-day event at the Newton Marriott Hotel, including a cross-section of business leaders, state and municipal officials and global thinkers who have helped strengthen Massachusetts’ reputation as a world leader in innovation and entrepreneurship. The summit is an outgrowth of Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century, the state’s central organizing framework for measuring its economic development activities. This comprehensive plan, initiated by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2010, builds upon Governor Deval Patrick ’s core strategy of long-term investments in education, innovation and infrastructure, and focuses on five broad categories for action, along with 55 specific action steps. These five categories include Building Talent, Innovation Economy, Empowering Regions, Ease of Doing Business and Cost Competitiveness. Bialecki stresses “collaboration and strategic planning” as key ingredients for sustainable economic growth in the future, so much of the discussion will focus on state initiatives that meet these criteria. Examples include developing advanced manufacturing partnerships and middle-skills training in community colleges; creating innovation ecosystems to spawn startups; strengthening housing, job and educational opportunities across the entire state; and enacting ways to improve cost competitiveness while making it easy to do business in Massachusetts. Here is an online version of the brochure, and of the program and panelist biographies. For more information on the economic development summit, contact ChooseToCompete@state.ma.us. For an ongoing look at the state’s progress, visit Mass.gov/compete.
Massachusetts Celebrates National Poetry Month in April
April is National Poetry Month, and Massachusetts is starting the celebration in good form with a special poetry event taking place at Boston University Theatre on Monday, March 31, 2014 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Governor Deval Patrick is a guest reader, along with Robert Pinsky, former U.S. Poet Laureate and teacher at Boston University, Robin Young, host of “Here & Now” on WBUR and others. The event is being organized by Mass Poetry and Courage & Renewal Northeast. Massachusetts has a storied history when it comes to poetry, dating back to the very beginning of the Bay State Colony. Anne Dudley Bradstreet was America’s first published poet; her book, The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America was issued in 1650. Then Phillis Wheatley, a slave from Senegal who was brought to Boston in 1761, published her first poem in 1763, and her first book, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, in 1773. She was the first African-American, and the third American woman, to publish a book of poetry. In the 19th century, Massachusetts was home to many great poets, like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Emily Dickinson. Massachusetts produced renowned poets in the 20th century too, including Robert Frost and Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, and Robert Creeley and Stanley Kunitz. In addition, poets from around the world have come to Massachusetts to live here and teach, bringing an international, immigrant flair to the state’s literary community. Some of these include Khalil Gibran from Lebanon, Dereck Walcott from St. Lucia, and the late Seamus Heaney from Northern Ireland. The creative community is an important part of Massachusetts – historically and culturally – according to Helena Fruscio, director of the state’s Creative Industries efforts. But there’s an economic impact too. The creative economy employs over 100,000 people and contributes $1 billion to the state’s economy. The state’s literary community is also a tourist attraction, says the Mass Office of Travel & Tourism, as people all over the world come here to visit the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst; to Walden Pond, where Henry David Thoreau found inspiration; or to Lowell, where Jack Keruouc was born and raised before heading on the road. Poetry is alive and well in Massachusetts. Earlier this month, Huntington Theatre’s Education Department and Mass Cultural Council organized the finals of the Poetry Out Loud competition at the Old South Meeting House. The winners are going to Washington DC at the end of April to compete against other states. Good luck to them!
Worcester Technical High School – the School that Works
Worcester Technical High School has been getting a lot of accolades recently and for good reason. A recent story in The Boston Globe, titled, “Worcester a model for Boston’s only vocational school,” noted that Worcester Tech, “among the country’s best schools, with about 98 percent of its 1,400 students graduating in four years, and about 60 percent going on to college,” is a model that other vocational schools, like Madison Park High School in Boston, can replicate. A reason for Worcester’s success, says the Globe, is because “the community at large, including businesses, higher education and non-profits, made the school a shared cause.” Another reason for its success is Dr. Sheila Harrity, who became principal in 2006 and is credited, along with community leaders, with helping to turn the school around. Dr. Harrity’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. In 2013, she was named Massachusetts Principal of the Year, and the U.S. Department of Education named Worcester Tech the National Blue Ribbon School for Outstanding Student Achievement. Then last fall, Harrity was named the 2014 National High School Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. She became the first Massachusetts principal to win the award. There’s more good news for Worchester Tech. On June 11, 2014, President Barack Obama is attending the school’s graduation to deliver the main speech, which is being held at the DCU Center. The school is honored by the president’s visit, said Dr. Harrity in a prepared statement, “As a pre-eminent leader and advocate for Career and Technical Education (CTE), the president’s work and commitment to promoting equality of opportunity for all, will inspire the class of 2014.” Building middle skills educational programs for Massachusetts students who aren’t necessarily going on to a four-year college is one of the priorities of the Patrick Administration. The Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development has been creating collaborative regional partnerships with employers, educators, workforce development specialists and schools to develop middle skills jobs in advanced manufacturing and other areas. Dr. Harrity is one of the speakers at the state’s economic development summit, Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century, on April 10, 2014. The all-day summit brings together leaders from throughout Massachusetts to discuss the Commonwealth’s economic development strategy for long-term investments in education, innovation and infrastructure.
Massachusetts Goes West to Enlist New College Students
Educators from Massachusetts are hitting the road this season to attend National College Fairs in Texas and California, part of an organized effort to entice high school students to select the Bay State for their college choice. The roadshows are organized by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts (AICUM), an educational association representing over 60 independent and private schools in Massachusetts. AICUM has teamed up with the state’s public universities and colleges to present a united front at these fairs. The strategy is to create a distinct brand by bringing together dozens of participating schools from across the Commonwealth into a single pavilion under the Massachusetts banner. It’s a novel way for the Massachusetts schools to stand out before the thousands of high school students, parents and guidance counsellors shopping for colleges in the sprawling exhibit, which has schools from all 50 states. This week AICUM is attending the Dallas/Ft. Worth National College Fair on Monday, February 10, at the Irving Convention Center in Las Colinas, followed by the Houston National College Fair at the Reliant Center on Thursday, February 13. At each show, a full range of Massachusetts colleges are represented, from University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Northeastern University to Mt. Holyoke College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In April, Massachusetts is attending the National College Fairs in San Diego on April 23 and Los Angeles/Pasadena on May 1, 2014. California ranks third - after New York and Connecticut – for the number of non-Massachusetts students enrolling here each year. The outreach to prospective college students fits into Governor Deval Patrick’s strategy for growth, which is “about investing time, ideas and money in education, innovation and infrastructure.” Massachusetts has one of the most renowned clusters of universities and colleges, research centers, and medical training institutions in the world. With over 100 college campuses across the state, and over 500,000 students enrolled each year, Massachusetts offers an impressive range of educational choices that include private and public universities, medium sized colleges, denomination schools, all-women’s colleges, art and music schools, technical schools and community colleges. The Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development has worked with innovation industries to set up excellent internship programs in Life Sciences, BioTechnology, Clean Energy, High Tech and other fields, which allow students to make the transition from college curriculums to real-life experience. To find out more about what Massachusetts has to offer, visit AICUM for private colleges and universities, or the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education for a list of public higher education campuses. If you’re planning to visit college campuses in the coming year, MassVacation.com has a handy compendium of schools, with information on directions, transportation, local events , hotels and restaurants and other things to make your trip memorable.
Advancing Manufacturing in Massachusetts
Massachusetts, renowned as America’s manufacturing epicenter in the mid-19th century, is rapidly regaining its spot as a leading manufacturing center, but with a 21st century twist. The state’s robust innovation economy has stimulated a new era of advanced manufacturing that relies on high-tech, precision machinery to produce a range of products including medical devices, robots, military equipment, green-energy technology and video games. Governor Deval Patrick recognizes the potential of advanced manufacturing to create jobs and move the economy forward. In his recent State of the Commonwealth address, Governor Patrick emphasized the strength of advanced manufacturing in our innovation economy. A few days after the address, Governor Patrick traveled to western Massachusetts to tour Advanced Manufacturing Co, Inc of Westfield, a family-owned business that makes precision parts for submarines, jets, helicopters and the International Space Station. Founded in 1962, the company has 200 workers. The governor’s commitment to advanced manufacturing is longstanding. In 2011 he launched the Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative (AMC), a group of leaders from industry, academia and government formed to map out a strategy for this emerging sector. The group created a five-point agenda to Promote Manufacturing, Educate the Workforce, Provide Technical Assistance, Ease the Cost of Doing Business and Gain Access to Capital Resources. See Governor Patrick on the Today Show talking about manufacturing. In its economic development plan, Choosing to Compete in the 21st century, the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development has identified Building Talent as one of five key initiatives. Indeed, one of our biggest challenges over the next decade is to train up to 100,000 skilled workers to enter the advanced manufacturing industry. AMC is working with high schools, vocational schools, community colleges and universities to provide training in computer and engineering courses to meet this demand. In a recent visit to Springfield Technical Community College, EOHED Secretary Greg Bialecki praised western Massachusetts for “deliberately seizing the opportunity” to bring precision manufacturing back. “You’ve got businesses, government, academic and community working together, saying let’s do it.” One program that is creating a buzz about advanced manufacturing is AMP iT UP!, a statewide promotional campaign educating students about manufacturing careers in Massachusetts. In December 2013, Mass Development announced nearly $110,000 in AMP it UP! matching grants to eleven programs across the Commonwealth that promote manufacturing as a career. This spring, the Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative is holding its 2nd annual Advanced Manufacturing Summit on April 29, 2014 at the DCU Center in Worcester. The summit brings together hundreds of executives and managers to share industry best practices and to discuss challenges and opportunities facing the advanced manufacturing industry. Here is a list of manufacturers in Massachusetts
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