For Immediate Release - March 19, 2010

GOVERNOR PATRICK HOSTS REGIONAL ECONOMIC SUMMIT TO SPEED RECOVERY, CREATE JOBS IN THE PIONEER VALLEY

Patrick-Murray Administration convenes leaders from across the Pioneer Valley to address economic challenges

AMHERST - Friday, March 19, 2010 - Governor Deval Patrick, in partnership with regional host the University of Massachusetts Amherst, today convened a cross-section of business, financial, education, and public policy leaders from the Pioneer Valley region for a Regional Economic Summit. The half day-long summit focused on ways to promote long-term economic recovery and job growth throughout the region.

"Based on the great success of the statewide summit last fall, the Lieutenant Governor and I are now continuing the discussion with the leaders of our regional economies," said Governor Patrick. "By convening representatives of commerce, industry, and academia from each region of the state, we can continue to plot a collaborative course to create jobs and encourage economic growth in the Pioneer Valley and every corner of the Commonwealth." The Governor first hosted an Economic Summit last fall at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston.

The Pioneer Valley Regional Economic Summit is the second in a series of regional events designed to help Massachusetts develop a strategic roadmap to recovery for the entire state. The first took place on January 29, 2010, in Leominster, in cooperation with Fitchburg State and Mount Wachusett Community College.

Today's summit included discussions on the current state of the United States' and Massachusetts' statewide and regional economies, the Administration's multi-pronged strategy for growth through regional economic development; investments in education, infrastructure, and innovation that will create conditions for maximum job growth; and public-private collaborations that can move the local economy forward. Participant working groups also strategized around finding long-term solutions to creating access to capital and advice for small businesses, clearing the way for business expansion and creating an innovation agenda within the Pioneer Valley.

"One of the takeaways from the Economic Summit last October was a pledge to work collaboratively with industry and academia to address the challenges confronting us all," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "These regional economic summits will be opportunities to continue working with our regional partners so we can reach our common goals, ensure that our efforts are inclusive, and encourage development in all parts of the Commonwealth."

This summit was organized in partnership with the Patrick-Murray Administration's Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, led by Secretary Greg Bialecki, who worked closely with a planning committee comprised of leaders from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the City of Springfield, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, Holyoke Community College, Hoppe Tool, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, MassDevelopment, regional chambers of commerce, and local officials.

"UMass Amherst is committed to our role as the engine of economic development in the PioneerValley and we are always looking for innovative ways to continue to promote economic growth," said UMass-Amherst Chancellor Robert Holub. "We're delighted to have hosted this important summit and I'm particularly pleased that our faculty participated. It was critical to have the public and private sectors collaborating on solutions for growth. I can't think of a better place to have that kind of discussion than the Commonwealth's public research university."

"I am pleased that Governor Patrick is hosting this event in western Massachusetts," Senate President Pro Tempore Stan Rosenberg said. "We face serious challenges and federal, state and local government officials must work together like never before if we are to meet them successfully. I am hopeful that this summit will re-invigorate that spirit of partnership."

"I commend Governor Patrick for his comprehensive and innovative efforts to bring job growth to western Massachusetts" said Representative Peter V. Kocot.

"The Pioneer Valley Regional Economic Summit will be a pivotal event in taking steps towards economic recovery and growth in western Massachusetts," said Representative John W. Scibak. "With a region that is rich in opportunity for economic development, I am pleased to see Governor Patrick's proactive approach to developing the strategy and resources needed to strengthen our local economies."

"Western Massachusetts businesses have benefited from the Patrick Administration's commitment to 'be there' for our companies. When business was more robust, skilled labor was a barrier to our region's precision machining business growth. With the collaboration and support of Governor Patrick and Lt Governor Murray, along with the Western Mass EDC, our companies were successful at development and deployment of a winning strategy to train hundreds of both incumbent and next generation workers in the precision machining field. This filled our immediate need for more workers. These Regional Economic Summits are the seeds that must be planted to grow business in our area and throughout the Commonwealth," said Eric Hagopian, President of Hoppe Tool in Chicopee.

Recent reports indicate that Massachusetts is posed to emerge from the global economic downturn more quickly and stronger than other states, thanks in large part to Governor Patrick and the Legislature's focus on long-term economic development and investments in key industries, such as life sciences, health care, education, and clean energy. On February 10, 2010, the Governor filed legislation designed to continue to foster economic growth and job creation in the Commonwealth. The Governor's bill provides tax credits for employers that create new jobs, eases healthcare and unemployment insurance costs for small businesses, and creates a new organization dedicated to providing businesses with the financial capital and resources they need to grow.

For more on the Patrick-Murray Administration's Economic Summit efforts, go to www.mass.gov/governor/economicsummit.

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