Baystate Wing Hospital has awarded a $30,000 grant to the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation (QVCDC) to support the Quaboag Connector, a new transportation service for transportation to and from work and the Work Force Training program in Ware offered by Holyoke Community College (HCC). In addition to providing transportation to employment and the college site, community members will also have access to the Quaboag Connector for transportation to and from medical visits and cultural activities.
“While the lack of public transportation has been a longstanding problem ln the Quaboag Hills Region, the creation of the E2E:Education to Employment Work Force Training Program in Ware has accelerated the need for transportation in the region,” said Sheila Cuddy, Executive Director of the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation and the Quaboag Valley Business Assistance Corporation. “The college, through a partnership with many local employers and institutions, will allow our community to locally access workforce training and credit-bearing degree path classes.”
“We are thankful to Baystate Wing Hospital for making a thoughtful and responsive investment in the community that will help residents lead fuller and more self-sufficient lives,” said Cuddy. “We are proud that they are a community partner. QVCDC had an earlier commitment from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for the $81,000 Quaboag Connector budget. The award from Baystate Wing Hospital Corporation allows us to meet the matching requirement, which is very exciting news for the community. Their investment secures the funding for this new transportation service that will become an important resource for the region.”
“Transportation can provide the link to essential opportunities that can have a profound influence on health and quality of life. We are delighted to partner with and support the QVCDC with this $30,000 grant for this innovative and impactful initiative,” said Michael Moran, President and Chief Administrative Officer of Baystate Health’s Eastern Region, which includes Baystate Mary Lane and Baystate Wing Hospitals. “Health and wellness are influenced by the places in which people live, learn, work, and play. Baystate Health is strongly committed to Ware and the many communities in our region and will continue to work with community partners to focus on programs and initiatives that promote wellness, education and workforce development, and improve access to care,” said Moran.
Baystate Health’s Eastern Region and the QVCDC, represent fifteen communities comprising a population of approximately 115,000 people.
The QVCDC has worked with the Town of Ware and the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority to obtain a van graciously donated by the Pioneer Valley Transit Association (PVTA), and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has provided funding support to operate the van.
Holyoke Community College has held four ServSafe classes which were attended by 40 students at the Ware site, and plans to expand their offerings to include the full Culinary and Hospitality Suite, Manufacturing and Production Technician classes, Home Health Aide
and EMT-Basic training classes. Enrichment courses for the general community such as Retirement Planning, First Aid and CPR, are scheduled to start in Spring 2017.
“Our physicians, nurses, and team members all strive to influence the health of the people we serve through exceptional care and innovative health initiatives,” said Moran. “I am privileged to lead our outstanding team of professionals that are committed to the health of our community members.”
Details and logistics about the Quabaog Connector transportation service are being worked out and information will be made available to the public in the near future. For more information about the E2E:Education to Employment Work Force Training Program visit http://www.qvcdc.org/education.html .
In attached photo: Left to right, Sheila Cuddy, Executive Director, Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation (QVCDC), Michael F. Moran, President and Chief Administrative Officer, Baystate Health Eastern Region, and Gail Farnsworth French, Training & Technical Assistance Program Manager, QVCDC.