Niraj Shah, a 1991 graduate of Pittsfield High School, is bringing 300 jobs to his hometown with the development of a call center for the international home decor company. He was the keynote speaker at Neal's Economic Development Policy Summit hosted by Berkshire Community College.
In less than 24 hours, Coakley presented to two different city boards on his work over the last year or so. The business manager is tasked with helping to bring companies to the city and helping local ones grow.
The Berkshire economy is growing, according to 1Berkshire.
The economic development agency said some $1 billion worth of investment has been made in the county in just the last three years. Now, the organization is asking the business community to embrace a "new narrative" of the county's economic future and has put forth Berkshire Blueprint 2.0, an economic development plan for future growth.
Baker toured the facility, met with the interns, heard from company officials about future plans, and highlighted it as an example of the good work his administration has done while citing the need to continue building.
Rural towns have their own challenges.
And now the state is taking a closer look at this issues. In 2015, the state Legislature created the Rural Policy Advisory Commission and this year the group has been on a listening tour to dig into those issues. On Thursday, the tour was in Berkshire County to get a better understanding of the issues here.
Efforts to make the town more business-friendly are well underway.
In recent years the town created an economic development committee and secured a state grant to share an economic development planning with other towns. A second grant award hired Berkshire Regional Planning Commission to do a re-use study of the Berkshire Mall.
The Opportunity Zone program provides a federal tax incentive for taxpayers who reinvest unrealized capital gains into "Opportunity Funds," which are specialized vehicles dedicated to investing in low-income areas called "Opportunity Zones."
The county is about halfway toward creating an economic development district, which will open up a new source of potential revenue for projects throughout Berkshire County.
The Comprehensive Economic Development committee, which is orchestrated through Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, has signed agreements from eight of the county's 32 towns joining the effort. The creation of a district will allow for cities and towns throughout the Berkshires apply for additional grant funding from t