Making news in business, Nov. 23



Nicole J. Hendricks

Nicole J. Hendricks CONTRIBUTED

Lidya Rivera-Early

Lidya Rivera-Early CONTRIBUTED

Published: 11-22-2023 10:57 AM

Valley CDC to offer free programs;adds to staff

NORTHAMPTON — Valley Community Development is accepting registrations for three programs — December Small Business Fundamentals, Tracking Growth for Business Success and Mastering Accounting for Small Businesses.

Additionally, the nonprofit has hired Twonnisha Winbush as its new associate associate real estate project manager. Winbush has always known she wanted to help people and give back to her community, but she didn’t know where she fit in or what she could do to help. Getting accepted to the Fellowship for Equitable Affordable Housing was an absolute dream come true for her.

The Small Business Fundamentals course will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 6, from 12-1 p.m. on Zoom. This free workshop is designed for people who are planning to start a business and owners of existing businesses who would like a refresher.

The Tracking Growth for Business Success series helps existing business owners expand to downtown Northampton and Florence business districts. The eight-week course will provide information on how owners can build a business dashboard to assess the potential success they could have by moving into a downtown location and how to maintain this success. Applications for the January 2024 cohort are open now.

The Mastering Accounting for Small Businesses is a four-week series for small business owners to learn how to set up and maintain their books on a monthly basis using the free Wave Accounting platform. The free program is offered by Western Mass Means Business on Jan. 9, from 5-7:30 p.m. at Venture X in Holyoke; on Jan. 16 and 23, from 5-7 p.m., on Zoom; and on Jan. 30, from 5-7 p.m., at Venture X.

To register or apply for these programs, visit

UMass welcomes leader ofSpringfieldpartnerships

AMHERST — The University of Massachusetts Amherst has appointed Lidya Rivera-Early to the newly created position of executive director of government relations and Springfield partnerships.

Rivera-Early brings over 25 years of leadership, development and managerial experience to the position, most recently as director of community engagement at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). Rivera-Early will draw on her established relationships in the public and private sectors to serve as the liaison between UMass and the city of Springfield.

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Based at the UMass Amherst Center at Springfield, located at Tower Square, the new position was created to enhance the Springfield-UMass partnership, which is built on a commitment to cultural and economic equality and opportunity.

Rivera-Early will work with legislators, city officials, the business community, nonprofit leaders and university colleagues to connect UMass Amherst’s academic, research and economic development mandates with the city of Springfield.

Rivera-Early received a bachelor’s degree in human services and a master’s degree in organizational management and leadership in human services from Springfield College. She is a graduate of Leadership Pioneer Valley and is the recipient of several notable awards and honors including the Massachusetts Latina Excellence Award.

Tech Foundry opens applications for spring classes

Tech Foundry, which offers IT workforce development and training, has opened applications for the Spring 2024 IT support classes, which will run from Feb. 12-June 14.

Tech Foundry’s training includes 14 weeks of tech-focused classes supported by professional development activities and individualized coaching and tutoring, followed by four weeks of internship experience and ongoing job placement support. Tech Foundry’s graduates successfully launch careers in IT help desk and technical support roles, as well as network administration and digital imaging and deployment positions, leading to living-wage jobs in the tech sector.

To apply, visit and complete an application by Dec. 31.

HCC criminaljustice professor honored withInspiration Award

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College criminal justice professor Nicole J. Hendricks was honored Oct. 6 with an Inspiration Award from the African American Female Professor Award Association.

Each year, the association celebrates a handful of Black female professors at its annual awards banquet, which this year was held at the Griswold Theater on the campus of American International College in Springfield.

Hendricks, a 17-year faculty member at HCC, was one of four Black female professors recognized.

Hendricks has served as chair of the Criminal Justice Department at HCC and teaches a variety of courses in that area, including criminology and women’s studies. She also teaches interdisciplinary courses as part of HCC’s Learning Communities program.

In her own remarks at the banquet, Hendricks talked about the “cognitive dissonance” she experienced as a teenager visiting her older brother in prison while she was attending Deerfield Academy, an elite prep school, and later Wesleyan University, a private college in Middletown, Conneticut. She also holds a master’s degree in public administration in criminal justice from New York University.

Micka joins board of directors at Greater Springfield visitors bureau

SPRINGFIELD — Jeremiah Micka of the Tunnel Bar/Union Station in Northampton, has been appointed to the board of directors for the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB). He will serve a two-year term that expires in October 2025.

Other board members selected include Peter Picknelly, Opal Real Estate, and Melissa Picknelly, Peter Pan Bus Lines.

Other local business leaders serving as board members and offers include: Wade Bassett, Yankee Candle Co.; Ray Berry, White Lion Brewing; Mansour Ghalibaf, Hotel Northampton; David Griffin, Dowd Insurance; Laurie McDonald, Deerfield Inn; Shardool Parmar, LaQuinta Inn & Suites; Jamie Przypek, Three County Fairground.