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MassHire's first in-person job fair on Thursday involved some 50 businesses and organizations.
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MassHire Career Center Filling Jobs & Building Connections

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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BerkshireJobs, an affiliate of iBerkshires, was at the fair to show the resources it can provide for jobseekers and employers. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — MassHire Berkshire Career Center last week held its first big in-person job fair since the pandemic. 
Local businesses and organizations were able to network with job seekers and find candidates for their openings. 
"There's a lot of businesses that are looking to fill positions and to be able to make meaningful connections between businesses and job seekers. So that way they can have sustainable income as well," the center's business services coordinator Melanie Herzig said. 
"There's a lot of businesses that are looking to fill positions and to be able to make meaningful connections between businesses and job seekers. So that way they can have sustainable income as well."
Approximately 50 businesses and organizations registered to table at the fair and to engage in on-the-spot interviews.
"I think it's important to the community so that individuals can come to the job fair and talk to employers face to face and really make that connection because a lot of the times now we're doing everything from behind the computer or behind some type of electronic device," Pittsfield's Human Resources Director Michael Taylor said. 
"So to be able to come in person and make a real connection with an employer and I think that's just really critical."
To honor veterans, the center offered early entrance to all veteran job seekers. In addition to that, five of the 50 participating organizations were veteran services including Soldier On, Pittsfield's Veteran Services, Berkshire Veterans Outreach Center, and more. 
The fair helps spread the word about the resources veterans have in the community to aid in the transition back into civilian life. 
The nonprofit Soldier On tabled at the event to share with the local veterans the resources it has for finding a job, housing, health care and other services.
"We do everything in our power to help the veterans in any way that we can," Soldier On case manager Justin Rathbun said. "We just really want to get the word out that if there's a veteran in need, that we are there to help and we don't want them to feel like they are on their own. So we want them to know that we have their backs. We go help them in any way possible and that's our mission."
Multiple businesses and organizations commented that the fair's turnout has been great and helpful to the community. 
"We have a community of people that are looking for work. We have employers who are looking for staff so it's a huge event for our community to help people get out and working," Molari Employment staffing manager Liz Goclowski said. 
"Being a staffing agency we know a lot of people, we have a lot of people come back and apply when they're in between jobs, and I met with both people that we've had in history with and brand-new people that I've never met before. So, it's been great."
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts was also tabling at the event to promote its undergraduate opportunities and employment opportunities.
"[It's been] very busy. MassHire does an outstanding job promoting the events and supporting the events so the people who we meet have been having interest in continuing [their education] as well as opportunities to work for the college," MCLA's Associate Dean of Graduate & Continuing Education for Partnerships & Programs Joshua Mendel said. 
"Anytime we have a chance to share knowledge about exploring your education opportunities, your educational goals, it's very, very important, as well as opportunities to build our workforce and to put people back into opportunities to grow."
Growing businesses such as High Lawn Farm also attended the fair to help fill various positions to supplement its expanding needs. 
"As our farm continues to grow, we're looking to fill numerous positions. Many of them are oriented around the production of our delicious dairy products and then some of them are related to the distribution and quality of our products and maintaining that," High Lawn Farm General Manager Caitlin Moriarty said. 
Having a job fair, such as this one, is important to the community because it improves the accessibility to job seekers, she said. 
"It's been well attended so far. We've got a handful of great applicants and their resumes to follow up with our communities," Moriarty said. 
"It's important to our community to have a space to have everybody together and it's a little bit more accessible than having people come on site. We could get the preliminary interview here and follow up with them further."

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Berkshire County Regional Employment Board Awarded State Grant

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Healey-Driscoll Administration announced $16.3 million in Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF) grants awarded to nine organizations to upskill 1,860 individuals for careers in high-demand occupations in healthcare and behavioral health sectors across Massachusetts. 
The funding will support initiatives to train and hire unemployed and underemployed individuals while providing current employees with the skills to meet the needs of Massachusetts employers for roles such as Emergency Medical Technician, Certified Nurse Assistant, and Mental Health Peer Support Specialist.
"Industries across the state are experiencing workforce challenges, but the need is particularly great in behavioral health care, as we need enough trained workers to provide the care that our residents need and deserve," said Governor Maura Healey. "These grants will help address these challenges by hiring and training new talent and upskilling existing talent."  
In Berkshire County, the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, Inc. was awarded $2,227,173.
Berkshire County Regional Employment Board will provide training and placement services to prepare 510 unemployed and underemployed participants for Medical Assistant, Certified Nurse Assistant, Acute Care Nurse Assistant, and Registered Behavioral Technician positions. They will partner with Community Health Programs, The Brien Center, Berkshire Health Systems, and Integritus Healthcare. 
This partnership also aims to assess the demand and develop programming opportunities for Licensed Practical Nurses, career pathways for Licensed Practical Nurses to Registered Nurses, and provide career advancement training for incumbent Behavioral Health workers.
The Workforce Competitive Trust Fund Program grants, administered by Commonwealth Corporation on behalf of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, are part of the Healey-Driscoll Administration's strategic investment to retain and upskill existing talent in Massachusetts' current workforce. The Healthcare/Behavioral Health Hub Grants announced today support investments in collaborative efforts focused on addressing healthcare and behavioral health workforce needs in regions across the Commonwealth. 
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