Senate restores funds to GCC

  • The Greenfield Community College main campus building. Recorder file photo

For the Gazette
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

GREENFIELD — The state Senate on Tuesday restored some $230,000 in cuts made in July, including money to Greenfield Community College for its farm and food systems pilot program and its partnerships in Northampton and Amherst.

Other restored funding to GCC includes $55,000 that will help the college with a partnership with Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton. GCC is working on creating a pipeline between itself, Smith Vocational, Westfield College and Cooley Dickinson Hospital to help nursing students find jobs after their training.

“The possibilities in Hampshire County are exciting and are meaningful to the students who will have access to more community college programs than they already have,” GCC President Bob Pura said.

Other money restored is earmarked for Franklin County education programs and a Franklin County Sheriff’s training active bystanders program, run by the Quabbin Mediation.

“I’m thrilled that once again our local delegation led the way in the efforts for Greenfield Community College and for the educational needs of Franklin and Hampshire counties,” Pura said.

Pura said the farm and food systems pilot program will now be able to get more off the ground and running. The program will get $75,000 to help it develop around the goal of sustainable energy and agriculture.

“It’s about sustainable agriculture in an agricultural community,” Pura said. “It’s a great fit for us and this community, to help us think about sustainable processes and systems for a much more localized and robust farm-to-food structure.”

The college plans on developing a 1-acre plot on its lower field for agricultural purposes, so that it can act as a teaching tool for its students taking classes in this program.

In addition the state put back $100,000 to the budget for the Franklin County Sheriff’s training active bystanders program, run by the Quabbin Mediation.

“Funding for these programs are services benefits the residents of the Pioneer Valley in numerous ways,” Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst, said in a press release. “From students in college to children in DCF care, to addressing our homeless population, restoring these funds provides much-needed resources to our education system, law enforcement, and social services organizations.”

Previously, the senate also restored $250,000 prior funding cuts.

The Northwestern district attorney’s office was allotted $75,000 for its juvenile fire-setter intervention and prevention program, known as “NoFIRES.” The program educates children in the care of the state’s Department of Children and Families and the Department of Mental Health.

Additionally, $85,000 was given back to the Middle Skills Manufacturing Initiative In Franklin and Hampshire County, for the precision manufacturing training program. The United Way of Pioneer Valley received $125,000 on behalf of the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness.