Holyoke Community College, along with the three other community colleges in western Massachusetts, has been named a "Difference Maker" for 2017 by Business West magazine.
The annual awards recognize "individuals, agencies, and institutions that are finding profound and often unique ways to improve the quality of life in the community we call Western Mass.," the magazine said.
HCC is being honored collectively with Berkshire Community College, Greenfield Community College and Springfield Technical Community College.
"While perhaps not as famous as the region's many fine private schools or UMass Amherst and other four-year institutions in the state system, these schools — Berkshire Community College, Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College, and Springfield Technical Community College — are playing an absolutely critical role in the development of this region," the magazine writes in its Jan. 23, 2017, issue.
"They act as both a door of opportunity, especially to those who don't have many available to them, and a pathway to careers, through both degree and certificate programs that provide job skills and also transfer opportunities to four-year schools. Meanwhile, behind almost every major economic-development initiative in this region, there is a community college playing a significant role."
HCC, BCC, GCC, STCC are featured in this week's cover story in Business West ("Steady Course: Community Colleges Forge Opportunities, Fuel Growth") and will be honored along with the other awardees at a celebration March 30 at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House in Holyoke.
PHOTOS by CHRIS YURKO at HCC: (Left) HCC president Christina Royal, right, is joined by GCC president Bob Pura, left, BCC president Ellen Kennedy and STCC president John Cook, during a recent visit to HCC. (Right) The four community college presidents during a recent gathering at HCC.