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Featured Business June 2024: Tri-Community YMCA

Tri-Community YMCA, 43 Everett Street, Southbridge, MA 01550, (508) 765-5466

Since, 1882 the Tri-Community YMCA has built a strong reputation for having health, fitness and social programs for area residents and families, and has grown to include assistance for at-risk children and families. The Southbridge branch is one part of several locations of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts that also includes Westboro, Worcester (2 locations), Leominster, and Fitchburg.

Pre-school and after school childcare, older adult services, teen programs, summer camp programs, rehabilitation, health and wellness programs, and literacy and family activities have all provided a long history of opportunities for members and non-members to enhance their lives by building healthy spirit, mind, and bodies. And it is through their largest program called the Annual Campaign, that the Y secures the financial gifts needed to deliver the programs and services. And besides memberships, other events such as LIVESTRONG Y Cancer Support Program and the annual Golf Classic also contribute towards fundraising and the delivery of all programs.

The Southbridge branch has had some major capital improvements recently such as an expanded childcare program that can service an additional 25 children; a new HVAC system in the gym; a new concrete floor in the fitness room with additional cardio vascular and other exercise machines; a cancer survivor wellness program; a program called “What’s For Dinner” where people can call ahead or walk in for pre-packaged meals Thursdays through Saturdays (currently serving 300 families every week); and a new water safety swim program for grade 3 school students called “Just Get In The Water”.

Technology has even become part of the organization bringing the “YMCA360” experience that is offered 24/7 on mobile devices, TV, and the web (in participating markets). All branches of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts, including the Southbridge branch, are involved with this new experience, and it is available to all current members to enjoy a collection of on-demand and livestream classes on their devices in cinematic 4K wherever they are and whenever they want.

If you have any questions, please contact the Member Service Center at (508) 770-6451 ext. 0 or send email to: membersupport@ymcaofcm.org.


2024-05-21T11:01:10-04:00June 1st, 2024|

Featured Business Program June 2024: MassMEC Initiative, Old Baker Chocolate Factory

MassMEC Initiative, Old Baker Chocolate Factory, One Adams Street, Milton MA, (888) 763-2759



The MassMEC (Manufacturing Energy Collaboration) is a new initiative created to decrease the energy bills of commercial, industrial, and municipal entities within the state. MassMEC combines the energy usage of many companies into buying groups, then negotiates volume rates with the power supply companies so businesses can save on energy. Buying in bulk can reduce a company’s electricity and natural gas costs. The initiative provides businesses with a trusted resource to:

– Ensure your business is paying the lowest available electricity and natural gas supply costs

– Avoid paying sales tax on utilities unnecessarily when eligible for exemption

– Save money on energy efficiency upgrades by leveraging available state and utility incentives

– Explore and evaluate onsite solar, community solar, onsite battery storage, electric vehicle charging, and other energy-related projects

By placing businesses into groups with similar energy needs, aspects such as rate class, load factor, capacity, and location can be used to determine with whom a company is best grouped. EarlyBird Power, the licensed energy company that was selected by MassDevelopment to manage the program, then negotiates on behalf of MassMEC with qualified power suppliers in the region for the lowest available market price. It’s easy to see how this kind of competition and forward planning can create fantastic energy pricing for companies. To participate and get started (as long as your business has at least one electricity and/or natural gas utility account), email one recent utility bill for each electricity and/or natural gas account to: billaudit@massmec.com.

To discuss specific questions or learn more about the program, call (888) 763-2759. You are also invited to ask any questions you may have about energy and get the latest quarterly energy market report at no cost after you submit a participation form. This report will give you insights into the energy market in the state of Massachusetts and how it may be affecting your business. The participation form is found at: https://massmec.com/contact-us/.

2024-05-21T11:00:25-04:00June 1st, 2024|

Featured Business April 2024: Center of Hope Foundation

Over 68 years ago, in May of 1956, a young mother of 10 was encouraged to start a Chapter of the “Association for Retarded Children (Arc)” in the 10-town Southern Worcester County Area. Anita Anderson of Charlton, along with a small group of other parents, began the research to educate themselves and the public about people with disabilities. It was commonly accepted before this movement that all people born with severe disabilities would never improve, so the best course of action was to leave these children in institutions. These advocacy groups changed all that through their grass roots efforts, which locally led to the establishment of a school for children with disabilities named the Center of Hope on Walnut Street in Southbridge (a former garage of the Wells family donated by the former American Optical Company). Since those early $5,000.00 budget days, the agency has grown to serve over 700 families in 64 towns in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The administrative offices in Southbridge are now housed in a 100,000 sq. ft. building at 100 Foster St./1 North St. acquired in 2003.

The expanded agency now has 5 large Day Habilitation Programs, including a location on West Street which is also consists of 9 apartments for folks to succeed living on their own with some supports.

They have a thriving, comprehensive Vocational Program that helps people succeed in competitive employment within the community and/or work in 13 small businesses sponsored by the agency, such as the Noress Corp. (assembly and packaging company); Just the Details (auto cleaning); Vivid Print (printing and graphics solutions); Cans of Hope (can redemption); Yards of Hope (lawn care); Scoops of Hope (ice cream shop); Clean-Out/Removal Services; Hope’s Treasures (thrift store); Fair and Square Construction (renovations); The Festive Home ( wreath décor); Shred of Hope (shredding service); and Janitorial Services.

In addition to day programs, housing, and vocational enrichment, they also have Camp, Individual and Family Supports Programs, an ABI Waiver Program, Youth Internship and Employment Programs, Special Olympics, Recreational Dances, Outings and Trips, Emergency Relief, Volunteers of Hope, Self-Advocates Groups, Legislative Advocacy, and other community programs.

The Center of Hope has grown to be one of the top five employers in Southbridge and has also become a well-respected and vital part of the community involved in many things from renovating town parks, providing volunteers at the local hospital, and being members of committees, boards of directors and chambers of commerce and other business groups. Their goals continue to allow them to move forward, providing innovative and avant-garde services for an ever-widening circle of people with special needs.

To learn more about the current events in Day Habilitation Programs, Family Supports, Employment Supports, and the multiple entrepreneurial business developments, please visit the Center of Hope Foundations website at: https://www.thecenterofhope.org/. To explore current job openings, click HERE.

2024-03-29T14:20:12-04:00April 1st, 2024|

Featured Business Program April 2024: DIA Safety Training Grant Program

The Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) wants to assist businesses reduce the risk of injury and illness to workers and promote safe and healthy conditions in the workplace through training, education, and other preventative measures.

  • Businesses will find that implementing safety and health programs will:
  • Prevent workplace injuries and illnesses
  • Improve compliance with laws and regulations
  • Reduce costs, including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums
  • Engage workers
  • Enhance social responsibility goals

Did you know that businesses in the US reported 2.6 million injury and illness cases in 2021? To help Massachusetts-based and operating employers’ workplaces be free of known health and safety hazards they offer a Workplace Safety Grant every year. The grant provides eligible employers in good standing with funding for employee training to prevent or redress a history of workplace injuries. The maximum grant request is up to $25,000.

This is a reimbursement program. All training(s) must be pre-approved and only conducted after the execution of a standard contract form signed by the applicant and countersigned by the Commonwealth. Approved funds will not be distributed until all contractual documents are signed by all parties. Training(s) or other costs incurred conducted prior to a signed contract shall not be eligible for reimbursement; invoices dated prior to contract execution will not be considered for payment by the DIA, Office of Safety. The training period is tied to the Commonwealth’s fiscal year (FY), which runs July 1-June 30 (aka the “grant year”); all grant-funded training must be completed by June 30 of the applicable fiscal year. All invoices seeking reimbursement for approved training must be received by July 15 of the FY grant year.

The following are examples of popular trainings (not an all-inclusive list): Accident Avoidance, Active Shooter/Workplace Violence De-Escalation, Aerial Lift, Arc Flash Electrical Safety, Basic Electrical Safety for Non-Electrical Skilled Workers, Bloodborne Pathogens, Boom/Truck/Scissor Lift, Bucket Truck, Calm, Chain Saw Safety, Chemical/Biological Toxins, Cold Weather Safety, Competent Person, Confined Space Entry, Confined Space Rescue, CPR, First Aid, Crane Rigger Training, Crane Mobile Elevated Work, Defensive Driving, Disaster Response, DOT Hazmat Training, Electrical Hazards and Injury Prevention, Electrical Lock Out Tag Out, Ergonomics, Excavation Safety, Fall Protection, Fire Safety, Forklift, Hand and Power Tools, Hazard Communication/Identification/Materials/ Waste, Health Hazards, Hoisting, Job Hazard Analysis, Laboratory Safety, Ladder Use, Lead Hazards/Safe Renovator, Lifeguard, Machine Guarding/Operation, Manual Lifting, Marina Safety, Material Handling, Mobile Elevated Work Platform, Mobile Lift, Office Safety, Personal Protective Equipment Training, Pesticide Applicator, Prevent Repetitive Stress Injuries, Safe Patient Lifting, Scaffolding Safety, Slips, Trips and Falls, Stress Management, Traffic Control, Water Safety, Winter Driving, Workplace De-Escalation.

To apply, you must first sign in to the Workplace Safety Grant Portal at: https://workplacesafetygrant.mass.gov/.

For details about the Workplace Safely Grant Program visit: https://www.mass.gov/workplace-safety-grant-program.

2024-04-01T11:23:32-04:00April 1st, 2024|

What do jobseekers think of the Bounce Program?

The Bounce Program© is an assessment and mindset coaching program that increases a person’s psychological work readiness by boosting their confidence, resilience and motivation. Participants work through the program content with support from Bounce Coaches and Trainers to build self-awareness and confidence, develop resilience, and create a plan to find meaningful and sustainable employment. At the end of the training, participants feel better equipped and more motivated to find work, and they’ve given their wellbeing a positive boost.

MassHire Central’s Bounce Program instructors Nelson and Anthony recently hosted a session of the program and participants had great things to say!

Learn about the next Bounce Program session at a virtual info session on December 22, 2023 at 10am. Click here to register!

What did you think about this program?

“It was great. Found it helpful to change my thought process on trying to find a job. Up to now, it’s been tough and discouraging. I have some new tools now!”


“It is good in making you feel professional again and giving you a structured regiment with a place to go.”


“Helpful. Intuitive. Put things in a different perspective.”


How did you like your facilitators?

“Nelson and Anthony were fun, personable, and engaging.”


“Anthony and Nelson were excellent facilitators. They created a comfortable environment for the participants to share their experiences.”


“Great! Knowledgeable, experienced, accepting.”


What is one thing you plan to take with you?

“I will focus upon communication styles so that I can get my points across more easily.”


“I will be better about goal setting from this course, which ties into my career search and life goals.”


“I feel more confident after reviewing skills and feelings related to my job search.”


2023-12-15T14:53:35-05:00December 14th, 2023|
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