Economic Growth in Western Massachusetts

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The Western Mass Business Expo, the largest business-to-business trade show in the region, took place this week at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. The Expo featured over 150 exhibitors, free educational seminars and networking events that attracted over 4,000 participants, many of them business leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators.

Governor Deval Patrick, guest speaker at the expo, used the occasion to take stock of the investments in education, innovation and infrastructure his Administration has made in western Massachusetts.

“We are a more prosperous, more promising and more just Commonwealth for more people today than we were eight years ago,” Governor Patrick told the audience. “Massachusetts has become a global hub of innovation — in our economy, in government and throughout our society. That’s where our competitive edge lies and why our future is bright.”

Among the investments to the region:

Earlier this month, Governor Patrick announced a $60 million facility to be built in Springfield for the manufacturing of MBTA rail cars. It will create 150 manufacturing jobs and 100 construction jobs for the greater Springfield area.

Last fall, the Governor announced a $200 million investment in Phase 1 of the I-91 Springfield Viaduct project, which will help unlock potential for additional economic and community development opportunities in the region.

In May, 2013 Governor Patrick announced $5.2 million in capital funds to complete the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Center at Springfield 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 Center offers bachelor and master-level courses geared for residents of Pioneer Valley.

The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke supports research computing needs of five of the state’s most research-intensive universities: Boston University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts. In 2010, the Administration committed $25 million in funding to support the Center, coupled with $55 million in investments by academia and private partners, making it the largest investment in Holyoke in 50 years. The Green Center represents the most significant collaboration among government, industry and public and private universities in the history of the Commonwealth. See more about Holyoke here.

The Patrick Administration has invested over $33 million in MassWorks funding for infrastructure projects in the Pioneer Valley since 2011, when the program formed. Recent investments include $2 million to create the Springfield Innovation Center in the Springfield Innovation District, and $4.2 million in funding to help redevelop the Union Station Regional Intermodal Transportation Center.

The Patrick Administration has worked with local officials and business leaders in Pittsfield to transform the downtown area through innovative programs, creating units of market rate housing and 10 retail spaces complementing the Downtown Arts Overlay District and comprehensive streetscape program.

“Governor Patrick has implemented a strategy that has made Massachusetts a leader in the global innovation economy,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. “By choosing to invest in education, innovation and infrastructure, he has positioned the Commonwealth to continue to thrive for generations to come.”

To find out more about business opportunities and economic development in western Massachusetts, contact Mike Vedovelli, Senior Regional Director, Massachusetts Office of Business Development, at mike.vedovelli@massmail.state.ma.us or 413 733-5357.