Making News in Business, July 7


  • Brittany Dent

  • Melissa Ricardi

  • MIke Connors

Published: 7/6/2022 4:22:07 PM
Modified: 7/6/2022 4:19:29 PM
Market Mentors welcomes three new team members

SPRINGFIELD — Market Mentors announces the addition of three new team members. The hires span multiple departments including copywriting, account services and digital advertising.

Mike Connors, a resident of Holyoke, joined the agency as a copywriter. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he spent the beginning part of his career working as a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette. He’s also experienced with podcasting, having worked as an audio editor and content writer for a podcast production company. At Market Mentors, he crafts blogs, website copy, social media campaigns, press releases and more for clients in a wide variety of industries.

Brittany Dent joined the agency as an account executive with more than a decade of experience in branding, photo and video production, social media, trend forecasting and more. With a creative flair and experience as a small business owner herself, she partners with her clients in multiple industries to help them meet their business and marketing goals.

Melissa Ricardi, a Ludlow resident, is the agency’s newest digital coordinator. A graduate of Our Lady of the Elms with a bachelor’s degree in computer information technology and graphic design, she focuses her professional acumen on digital advertising campaigns, including retargeting and display, as well as developing and implementing SEO/SEM best practices to identify new market opportunities and maximize program profits with improved organic rankings.

The Dowd Agencies
promote Jack Dowd

HOLYOKE — The Dowd Agencies has promoted Jack Dowd from account executive to vice president of personal lines. Dowd has been with the agency since 2016 and represents the fifth generation to join the family business.

Dowd graduated from Saint Michael’s College with a bachelor of science in business administration and received his master’s in business administration from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business. A licensed property and casualty insurance producer, he achieved his certified insurance counselor designation in 2019. In addition, he has participated in the 18-month Agents Sons & Daughters Training Program for underwriting at Quincy Mutual Insurance.

In his community, he serves on committees for the Brightside Foundation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He is also a member of the board of directors for Boys Scouts of America, Western Massachusetts Council, where he serves as the risk management chair.

Amherst BID accepting grant applications for new businesses  

AMHERST  — The Amherst Business Improvement District, working with the town of Amherst, has been allocated $40,000 to help new businesses get open in town. The grants are designed to support small, brick and mortar, storefront businesses throughout Amherst. Grants for new business will be between $5,000-$10,000.

The application deadline is Aug. 15. Applications will be reviewed using a scoring system and then by a committee between Aug. 16-30. Funding will be released immediately upon award notice. To apply for a new business grant, applicants must have a fully executed lease and business plan.

The money is part of $100,000 in APRA funds for the specific use of supporting small businesses throughout Amherst. These funds were divided into three grant opportunities: preexisting business grants, new business start-up grants and technical assistance grants.

In addition to new business grants, the BID has $35,000 in funding through ARPA to assist with professional fees that are helpful to opening a business. These funds can be paid for assistance with architects, attorneys, branding specialists for logos and web design and more.

To apply, visit For more information, contact with questions.

HCC accepting applications for community health worker program

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College is accepting applications for its free Community Health Worker training and apprenticeship program.

The program begins in September and is tuition free thanks to a federal grant HCC received in 2020.

The purpose of the four-year, $1.89 million grant, awarded in 2020 from the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) is to increase the number of community health worker qualified to help children and families affected by opioid use.

HRSA’s Opioid-Impacted Family Support Program supports training programs like HCC’s Community Health Worker program that enhance and expand paraprofessionals knowledge, skills, and expertise.

The training involves college level coursework during the first year, as well as supervised field work experience at Behavioral Health Network in Holyoke. Classes are held in person at HCC and require basic computer proficiency and literacy skills. After the first year, students can apply for a full-time, paid apprenticeship placement — the first of its kind in western Massachusetts.

During the pre-apprenticeship training at HCC, students take two core Community Health Worker classes across two consecutive semesters.

This is the third year of the four-year grant, which aims to train 25 individuals as community health workers each year. The grant also provides stipends to students as incentives to complete the program and seek employment in the field. Students who enter an apprenticeship after they finish training are eligible for an additional annual stipend of $7,500.

For more information or to apply, please visit

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