Hadley firm to lay off 17 workers
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HADLEY — Seventeen workers in the Hadley office of the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson are facing layoffs or transfers to other Pearson branches.
The Evaluation Systems group employs 257 people, the majority of whom work in the Hadley office, although some work in California. Pearson will lay off or relocate 21 of those employees, 17 of them in Hadley, according to company spokesman Adam Gaber. The company develops, administers and scores tests for teacher licensing across the country.
Gaber said that the Evaluation Systems group, which was known as National Evaluation Systems until it was purchased by Pearson Education Inc. in 2006, has lost business due to cuts in federal and state budgets.
“Business expansion for Evaluation Systems has slowed,” wrote Gaber in an email. “Regretfully, Evaluation Systems has had to let go a number of employees.”
Workers who face layoffs have been notified, but Gaber said Pearson is still attempting to relocate staff to other Pearson offices. The last day for employees who are laid off will be March 1.
National Evaluation Systems was founded in 1972 by William Gorth, a former University of Massachusetts professor who remains the president and CEO of the group.
NES began in the Carriage Shops in Amherst, but the company expanded over the years and moved first to Gatehouse Road and then to an 80,000-square-foot space in University Business Park in Hadley. In 2005, the company expanded the Hadley office by 50,000 square feet.
The Hadley headquarters for the Evaluation Systems group is now among the largest office buildings in Hampshire County. Gaber said the company will not be reducing office space.
In 2005, the year before NES was purchased by Pearson, it had sales of $73 million and gross assets of $16 million. Gaber declined to comment on whether the Evaluation Systems group has seen a decline in revenue. Gaber also declined to comment on whether other branches of Pearson would be laying off employees.