MassHire Appoints Alcombright as 'Business Market Maker'

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Richard Alcombright
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — MassHire Berkshire has tapped a former mayor, Richard Alcombright, as its "business market maker."
The market maker position was created through the Baker-Polito administration's Partnership for Recovery Plan announced in October 2020. 
The plan was made to support the recovery in several ways. One of them was to fund market maker positions that would support employer engagement activities aligning with Career Technical Initiative grants and other workforce skills needs and opportunities.
"In his role, Dick will travel the county to begin and, in some cases continue, conversations around such things as the overall health of the business, employment levels, hiring, recruitment and retention, training needs and the economic landscape as it pertains specifically to that business," said Heather Boulger, MassHire's executive director. "His background and knowledge of the region's business community position him well to engage at this level."
Alcombright, recently retired after 40 years with MountainOne Bank, has had experience working with and providing solutions for business customers. Additionally, as mayor of the city of North Adams for eight years, he fostered growth and development working with businesses on permitting, tax incentive programs and navigation of government processes. 
He is currently president of Berkshire Community Action Council, a trustee of Berkshire Health Systems, and a member of the North Adams School Committee, and serves several groups locally and statewide that provide solutions for folks and families suffering from substance use disorder.
"This is an exciting opportunity for me and a critical time for our Berkshire business community," Alcombright said. "While I will have specific questions that will round out my fact-finding, my role is to really listen, leave with an understanding of their needs, and then work with the good folks at MassHire to help them and their partners provide workforce solutions."
MassHire Berkshire, a branch of the state's workforce development system, meets the employment needs of businesses and workers by supporting partnerships with industry, education and workforce organizations.

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BEAT: Conserving Flowers and their Pollinators

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Joan Edwards will speak at the May Pittsfield Green Drinks event on Tuesday, May 17th at 6:00 PM and give a slideshow presentation about the rapidly decreasing biodiversity that is taking place globally, known as the sixth extinction. 
She will specifically focus on flowers and their insect visitors. 
This sixth extinction is primarily driven by human actions, from habitat loss to climate change. The impacts of biodiversity loss are far-reaching, resulting in biological communities that are less resilient and with diminished ecosystems services. As part of the discussion, Joan will explore the impact of biodiversity loss in the pollinator-flower world and examine how the surprising dynamics of flower-pollinator networks can help to conserve both flowers and their pollinators.
Joan Edwards is a botanist interested in understanding the biomechanics and adaptive significance of ultra-fast plant movements—plant actions that are so quick they occur in milliseconds. Using high-speed video (up to 100,000 fps), she studies the evolutionary significance and biomechanics of fast movements, including the trebuchet catapults of bunchberry dogwood, the vortex rings of Sphagnum moss, the splash cups of liverworts, and the "poppers" of wood sorrel. Her early fieldwork was on the impact of moose on plants in the boreal forests of Isle Royale National Park. 
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