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The Yankee Express

EOED Secretary Yvonne Hao Tours Whitinsville

From left :Susan Hamilton (MassDCR), Jennifer Stowe (MassDCR), Dennis Rice (BHC BoD), Senator Michael Moore, Commissioner Brian Arrigo (MassDCR), Representative Dan Donahue, Devon Kurtz (BHC), and Harry Whitin (BHC BoD). Photo submitted

Yvonne Hao, Secretary of Economic Development for Massachusetts, visited Whitinsville on Aug. 30 to  tour the former Aldrich Elementary School and the Blackstone Valley Hub for Workforce Development. Secretary Hao was hosted by Jeannie Hebert, President and CEO of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce (BVCC). Attending the tour was Senator Michael Moore, who facilitated the Secretary’s visit, Sen. Ryan Fattman, Heather Elster, Executive Director of the Whitin Community Center (WCC), Adam Gaudette, Northbridge Town Manager, and Bob Evans, Operations Director at the BV Hub.
The purpose of the tour was to spotlight the economic development projects serving the region that will have a positive impact in Central Massachusetts. These projects received 
American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Regional Economic Development Organizational (REDO) grant funds. The Aldrich School, whose renovations will be headed by the WCC, will be converted to a site for much need affordable childcare. The BV Hub for Workforce Development, a branch of the BVCC, is celebrating its fifth year as training center for advanced manufacturing and is expanding to include an electronics and robotics lab. This expansion will allow for more opportunities for students seeking vocational certifications and extended career pathways in our region.
“We were thrilled to host Secretary Hao and show her the impact these project will have on the families, students and businesses in our Valley,” said Hebert. “The Secretary indicated to me that she was most impressed with the collaborative efforts exerted through these projects and is anxious to see them completed. We are grateful for her support. Without the assistance of the programs offered through the Commonwealth we would not have been able to move forward with these achievements.” 
The Mission of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce is to preserve and enhance the economic vitality of the Blackstone Valley by addressing the needs and concerns of businesses and providing leadership, support and resources in connection with issues which impact commerce and the quality of life in the Valley.