For Immediate Release - May 01, 2014

GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES FUNDING TO SUPPORT UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DOWNTOWN SPRINGFIELD CENTER

New Center will expand growth and opportunity throughout the region

UMass Center Announcement

Governor Patrick announces $5.2 million in funding to complete the construction and furnishings for a new University of Massachusetts Center located in Springfield. (Photo: Eric Haynes / Governor's Press Office)

SPRINGFIELD – Thursday, May 1, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick today announced $5.2 million in funding to complete the construction and furnishings for a new University of Massachusetts (UMass) Center located in Springfield.  The grant is funded through the FY2014 capital plan, and will help UMass ensure completion of construction in time for the fall 2014 semester.

"Today's announcement of funding is great news for Springfield and the entire University of Massachusetts system" said Governor Patrick. "This new Center will provide vital education and skills training resources in downtown Springfield, and open up new educational and job opportunities for the residents of Springfield and beyond."

"The funding that Governor Patrick announced today dramatically strengthens the new UMass Center at Springfield, which is not only an educational collaboration but also an  economic initiative, a downtown revitalization initiative, while at its core an investment in people's lives and their futures,'' said UMass President Robert L. Caret. "It is consistent with what Governor Patrick has always been about and what the University of Massachusetts is about, which is providing opportunities for the citizens of the Commonwealth to realize their potential.''

In November 2013 Governor Patrick announced that UMass selected Tower Square, an office tower owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., to house the center.  The 26,000 square-foot facility is located at the heart of Springfield's downtown district, and is two blocks from City Hall and the MassMutual Center.  The new center will significantly expand the University's presence in western Massachusetts and unlock a range of degree opportunities to students of all ages that will be tailored to the meet the region's workforce needs. 

“Skilled workers, especially in growing industries like IT and advanced manufacturing, are critical to Springfield’s economic development,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki.  “The new UMass Center at Springfield will partner with MassMutual, Baystate Health Systems and Springfield residents to expand opportunity in the city.”

The center will be comprised of ten large, instructional rooms, including three nursing classrooms, one computer lab, two conference rooms, seven small meeting rooms, and space for student counseling and public events and meetings.  UMass President Robert Caret and Chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees Henry Thomas committed to open the center with classes offered by faculty from the four undergraduate UMass campuses, in partnership with Holyoke Community College and Springfield Technical Community College, among other institutions.

"We're thrilled to be part of helping to make the UMass Center at Springfield a reality, as we view it as a key contributor to economic growth in the region," said Chairman, President and CEO of MassMutual Roger Crandall.  "Having such a renowned institution as UMass establish a presence in the city is a great way for businesses to tap into potential future talent, which will enable both the city and business community to grow and become stronger together."

The UMass Center at Springfield is scheduled to fully open at the end of August, in time for the fall 2014 semester.  There will be 40 course offerings across 10 academic programs, including: Nursing, Education, Liberal Arts, Masters of Business Administration, Cyber Security/Network Security, Landscape Architecture and Planning, Architecture, Addiction Counseling, University without Walls (a bachelor's degree program for nontraditional learners) and seven training programs offered by the community colleges. The University has already opened a Welcome Center on the first floor of Tower Square where prospective students can find information about the fall courses.

Earlier this month, Governor Patrick filed An Act to Promote Growth and Opportunity, which provides $20 million for an Advanced Manufacturing and Information Technology Training Trust Fund to train 4,000 workers for middle-skill careers in manufacturing and information technology fields to address shortages in these industries and help employers continue to grow and innovate.  The legislation creates tools and training so our workforce is prepared to meet the needs of employers, invests in our Gateway Cities to promote economic development across the entire state and provides incentives to create jobs and stimulate the economy.  The bill furthers the Administration's proven growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure that has led to record job creation in Massachusetts and has made the Commonwealth a global leader in key innovation economy sectors.

For more on the bill, visit www.mass.gov/compete.

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