Biz Briefs: Study Says Kripalu Generates $64M in Economic Activity
Doing its part
A new study conducted by the Williams College Center for Creative Community Development has found the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health has a strong economic impact on the Berkshires, surrounding Western Massachusetts communities, and the state of Massachusetts as a whole. The report, authored by Williams College Economics Professor Stephan Sheppard, finds the Kripalu Center and its guests generate $64 million in total economic activity in Massachusetts annually, with about $56 million of it concentrated in Berkshire County. Meanwhile, the nonprofit wellness center located in Stockbridge generates $27 million in labor income thanks to its nearly 500 employees.
With the population in Berkshire County slowly declining for more than 50 years, the Kripalu Center is a premier example of an organization that is a stable and vital building block for the local economy. Nearly 40,000 guests visit the center each year, and 79 percent of Kripalu Center employees reside in Berkshire County. The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health has grown to become one of the Berkshires leading nonprofit organizations, dedicated to improving the quality of life for its employees and all members of the community where it does business.
As one of the largest employers in the Berkshires, the Kripalu Center is committed to creating a positive work environment for its employees and turning to its core values to create a positive culture. The Kripalu Center is also committed to giving back to the communities in Berkshire County, having recently supported or partnered with Tanglewood, Norman Rockwell Museum, Pittsfield Police Department, Pittsfield Public Schools, Hamden County Sheriff’s Department, Berkshire Arc, and more.
The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health is a premier yoga and holistic retreat destination attracting visitors from near and far. People drive from metro markets such as Boston and New York City, and from communities throughout New England. With its reputation as one of the top 10 yoga retreats in the world, The Kripalu Center also attracts international visitors who spend money during their time in the Berkshires.
As part of the Berkshire Advanced Manufacturing Program, 23 participants in Introduction to Advanced Manufacturing received certificates of completion for their participation in Introduction to Advanced Manufacturing (130 hours) held at Taconic High School in Pittsfield and McCann Tech in North Adams, and Welding (95 hours) held McCann Tech. The trainees also received OSHA training in all three programs. Additionally, 37 individuals, participated in a one-day hoisting training which prepared them to take the state exam in 1A and 3C hoisting. These skills combined with classroom work in resume building, interviewing skills and work readiness give students the ability to seek employment in the manufacturing sector.
At the conclusion of the trainings, a targeted career fair with eight employers was held at Berkshire Works Career Center. Participants in this training have successfully gained employment in manufacturing companies such as: Apex, LTI Glass, T&A Tool, Lenco Armored Cars, RIBCo., Data Flute, Unistress, Covanta LLC, Onyx Specialty Papers, Lansen Mold, and Modern Mold and Tool. Sixty-two percent of the graduates are employed. These trainings are part of a $138K state grant awarded to the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, Inc. (BCREB) for FY2018 to support the education and training of individuals with entry-level skills needed to enter and/or advance within the Advanced Manufacturing workforce in Berkshire County. Funding was provided by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and administered by the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County.
The Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, Inc. is the grant recipient and partners in the grant include area manufacturing employers Apex, Cavallero Plastics, Crane & Co., Covestro, Interprint, Onyx Specialty Paper, and Sinicon; Berkshire Community College, McCann Technical School, BerkshireWorks Career Center and Pittsfield Public Schools.
Pitch and putt
Fifty "business bikers" will choose one local business to compete in the statewide Pitch-Off on Tuesday, July 31, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Oldcastle Theatre in Bennington, Vt. Real, local entrepreneurs will pitch their business ideas to Vermont’s venture capitalists in the fifth annual FreshTracks Road Pitch competition. This event is free and open to the public. Seats are limited; register online. www.LightningJarVT.com.
The evening will showcase five business pitches. The winning pitch receives $500 and is invited to pitch at the final statewide competition on Oct. 17. The winner of the statewide Pitch-Off wins the $5,000 grand prize and a year of business mentorship from the riders.
Founded in 2014, Road Pitch has become one of the Vermont's foremost entrepreneurial competitions. Vermont-based investors, entrepreneurs, and business mentors travel by motorcycle to six locations across the state to hear from local startups and entrepreneurs. The riders offer advice, connections to resources, and investment opportunities to promising start-ups. The goal of Road Pitch is to showcase Vermont entrepreneurship and connect entrepreneurs to resources like advice and capital.
The Bennington Road Pitch is hosted by the Lightning Jar, a downtown business incubator and coworking space that guides local innovators through the challenges of launching and growing a business. After only three years, the Lightning Jar has gained region-wide attention for its entrepreneurial and professional development programming and trained over 25 entrepreneurs. Through its network, the Lightning Jar fosters early business success.
Channel Futures, a brand within Informa, has named CompuWorks, a leading Managed IT and Technology Success Provider, to the No. 211 spot on its 2018 MSP 501 Worldwide Rankings. The company ranked No. 15 in the New England region of the U.S. The MSP 501 is the information technology channel's first, largest and most comprehensive ranking of Managed IT Services Providers worldwide.
This year's applicant pool was the largest and most diverse in the history of the survey, said Kris Blackmon, content director of Channel Futures and Editor of the MSP 501. To qualify for the 2018 MSP 501, organizations were required to submit confidential survey applications and verified 2017 financial results. MSPs were evaluated by Channel Futures and Clarity Channel Advisors and ranked according to a unique methodology, which recognized that not all revenue streams are created equal. Revenue figures were weighted according to how well each candidate’s business strategy anticipated trends in the fast-evolving channel ecosystem.
The complete MSP 501 list is available online and a full MSP 501 report, available this fall, will leverage applicant responses, interviews and historical data to identify business and technology trends in the IT channel.
Founded in 1987, CompuWorks works with clients throughout the northeast from its home base in Pittsfield. The company is a four-time Inc. 500 award winner, and has been a recipient of the Western Massachusetts Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame Achievement award, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Blue Chip award, and has been recognized the Chamber of Commerce of the Berkshire as Entrepreneurs of the Year.
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America has awarded grants totaling $111,000 to 13 local non-profit organizations in support of programs focusing primarily low-income and low-asset Berkshire County families and individuals.
Guardian grant recipients for 2018 include: Berkshire Children and Families, Bridge to Economic Self-Sufficiency Program; Berkshire Community Action Council, Micro-Loan Program; Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, Youth Works Summer Employment Program; Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, Building for Tomorrow and Volunteers in Tax Assistance; Construct, Inc., Career Pathways in the Construction Trades; Elizabeth Freeman Center, Money School Program; Hillcrest Dental Care, Portable Dental Care Unit; Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, Financial Programs in Pittsfield Schools; Lever, Inc., Berkshire Business Interns Program; Mass Audubon Society, Berkshire Environmental Literacy Program; MCLA Foundation (Berkshire Compact), Career Fairs for 8th- and 10th-grade Students; Miss Hall’s School, Money Matters Financial Literacy Workshop; The Christian Center of Pittsfield, Health and Wellness Program.
The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires will publish the third annual "Giving Back" guide in the fall. Designed to connect nonprofits with those who want to volunteer or donate, the publication is distributed free throughout Berkshire County through the support of advertisers and sponsors. Officially titled "Giving Back: Your Guide to Charitable Opportunities in the Berkshires," the booklet features a directory of 1,000 Berkshire nonprofits organized by category. Full page profiles of participating nonprofits reveal information such as mission and program description, budget and staff size, and ways to help.
Berkshire nonprofits are encouraged to verify the accuracy of their free listing in the directory by going online. Local businesses that serve nonprofits can find advertising information online as well.
As a reference book, the Giving Back guide is used by schools and camps to facilitate community service projects for students, and by agencies such as Elder Services of Berkshire County, which places senior employees in nonprofit positions. Giving Circles also make use of the Giving Back guide to identify organizations to receive donations. Other primary users include retirees, second home owners, and individuals looking for information on how to get involved in the community. 5,000 copies are placed in coffee shops, popular gathering spots, libraries, town halls, businesses and restaurants.
The “Giving Back” guide was first published in 2016 when the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires was founded. The mission of the NPC is to help nonprofits connect, learn and grow. More information about the guide and other nonprofit programs can be found online.