Category: Press Release

Eight Western Massachusetts Businesses Awarded $570,000 in Workforce Training Funds

Eight businesses in Western Massachusetts received more than $570,000 in Workforce Training Grant funds through the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Senator Eric P. Lesser announced today.

“We know the key to economic growth is a highly trained local workforce. These funds will help our local small businesses keep their employees competitive and up-to-speed with the latest technologies,” Lesser said.

“These grants are great news for the entire Commonwealth, and especially right here in Longmeadow and East Longmeadow,” said Representative Brian Ashe (D-Longmeadow). “The workforce training grants will help with job retention, job development as well as job creation.”

Western Massachusetts recipients include Mechanical Drive Components, Inc. and the Polish National Credit Union in Chicopee; Premier Source Credit Union in East Longmeadow; the Willie Ross School for the Deaf in Longmeadow; B & R Machine in Ludlow; and Pioneer Valley Urology, Springfield Super Brush and Springfield Valet Park of America in Springfield.

The Workforce Training Fund provides up to $250,000 to companies of any size in Massachusetts to pay for workforce training over a two-year period. Grant recipients benefit from improved worker productivity and efficiency, helping them save money and fueling job growth.

Grants are matched dollar-for-dollar by the recipients. Interested businesses are encouraged to visit to learn more about the program.

Sen. Lesser Visits Granby Veterans During Annual Chicken Barbecue

State Senator Eric Lesser spent time thanking local veterans during a visit to the Friends of Granby Veterans’ 2nd Annual Chicken Barbecue held Sunday, June 14 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Pavilion.

“Our veterans gave so much in service to their country, and this event is proof that our communities recognize that sacrifice,” Lesser said. “As state Senator I am committed to ensuring the Commonwealth offers its own support in the form of sound policies and adequate funding for veteran services.”

Senator Eric Lesser is a member of the Joint Committee on Veterans & Federal Affairs, and recently wrote an op-ed on the importance of supporting local veterans and their family members.

The event was organized by Friends of Granby, a group of residents raising funds to build a memorial honoring Granby’s veterans. Senator Lesser was accompanied by Granby Selectman Mark Bail, and met with several veterans and their families.

All proceeds raised from the event will support the construction of the Granby Veterans Memorial Project. For more information, visit:

Sen. Eric Lesser Honors Chris Collins, Retiring After 7 Years as Williams Middle School Principal

LONGMEADOW–Sen. Eric Lesser presented an official Massachusetts Senate citation to Chris Collins, Principal of Williams Middle School, who is retiring after seven years as principal of that school.

“As a Williams alum myself, I could not be more proud to honor Principal Collins for his years of leadership,” Lesser said. “Williams Middle School has a record of achievement which is in no small part thanks to Chris’s leadership. Chris has been a remarkable principal for the Williams Middle School Community and I know I echo the thoughts of many people in saying he will be missed.”

A former health and physical education teacher at Amherst Middle School, Collins previously served as principal of Greenfield Middle School in Greenfield and in the Athol-Royalston Regional School District. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in physical education and health and a Master’s of education from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Williams Middle School enrolls nearly 400 students in grades 6 through 8.

Gov. Baker’s Opioid Working Group Recommends Measures Filed by Senator Eric Lesser

BOSTON–A report and recommendations released this week by Gov. Charlie Baker’s Opioid Addiction Working Group includes two policies Senator Eric P. Lesser filed as legislation at the beginning of the 2015-2016 legislative session.

“Opioid addiction is hurting families in every corner of Massachusetts and continues to be a public health emergency. This report includes several important strategies for combating it,” Lesser said. “I am glad these recommendations include two key measures I filed at the start of my term. I look forward to working with Governor Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey to implement these policies.”

Among the report’s key intervention initiatives is a measure that would shorten the Prescription Monitoring Program seven-day reporting period to 24 hours, helping prevent the practice of pharmacy shopping. This measure was filed by Senator Lesser in January and unanimously passed by the Senate in May.

Governor Baker’s report also recommends establishing a system for bulk-purchasing of the anti-overdose drug Narcan, to better equip first responders and others with this life-saving medicine. Senator Lesser filed a Narcan bulk-purchasing bill in January, and both the House and Senate passed bulk-purchasing plans this spring.

A few weeks ago, Senator Lesser wrote to Governor Baker’s working group requesting the inclusion of both Narcan bulk purchasing and the 24-hour reporting requirement in the Governor’s recommendations.

In addition to these two programs, the working group also recommended several other measures that are similar to legislation Senator Lesser is co-sponsoring, including: a statewide drug take-back program to encourage the safe disposal of excess medication, the option for patients to choose to fill prescriptions for addictive pain killers in lower quantities, and finally the implementation of electronic prescribing for opioids.

Opiates now kill more people in Massachusetts than car accidents and guns combined. More than 1,000 people died from opioid overdoses last year, a 33 percent increase over 2012.

From 2000 to 2012 the number of unintentional fatal opioid overdoses in Massachusetts increased by 90 percent.

Sen. Eric Lesser Visits Willie Ross School for the Deaf in Longmeadow

State Sen. Eric P. Lesser visited the Willie Ross School for the Deaf in Longmeadow to learn more about its curriculum and to discuss the role state government can play in improving and developing deaf education in Massachusetts.

“We are fortunate to have such an innovative institution for deaf and hard-of-hearing students right in our backyard,” Lesser said. “Meeting the unique learning styles and needs of these children is paramount to our educational success here in Western Massachusetts and the entire Commonwealth.”

During his visit, Lesser met with President and CEO Robert “Bert” Carter before being led on a tour of the building, including a stops to several classrooms, where students and teachers shared current projects and discussed their ongoing work-study activities in the community.

Founded in 1967 by a group of dedicated parents who sought to establish an innovative program for their children, the school employs a unique dual-campus model, consisting of an immersion approach, in which deaf and hard-of-hearing students learn together, and an inclusion approach, in which deaf students learn alongside hearing students in the East Longmeadow school system. The school serves students from cities and towns across Western Massachusetts

Local boy recognized as a Children’s Miracle Network Champion

Watch the video:


Joe Coles, 11, was a patient at Baystate Medical Center and has recently been appointed the Massachusetts representative for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Joe is a pretty remarkable kid. He was treated at Baystate for several health complications, but he’s not letting that stop him from accomplishing what he wants in life.

Friday was actually Joe’s birthday and in his short life, he has had a lot happen that many go a lifetime not experiencing at all.

Born with Down Syndrome, Joe has also been diagnosed with appendicitis, a collapsed lung, thyroid complications, a life-threatening heart condition, and leukemia.

Now, thanks to treatment from the staff at Baystate Children’s Hospital, his cancer is now in remission.

It has all been made possible by donations and help from the Children’s Miracle Network, an international nonprofit organization that raises funds for children’s hospitals and medical research.

Because of his willpower and strength of character, Joe has been named a Children’s Miracle Network champion and now represents Massachusetts for the organization.

Friday, he received a proclamation from state Senator Eric Lesser for his work representing the state.

“It’s been quite the honor to represent the state of Massachusetts for Children’s Miracle Network. We’ve met a lot great families, who’ve gone through different diagnoses, but similar situation,” said Kristin Coles, Joe’s mother.

“Joe is a young guy who made a grown-up decision to take his own illness and the pain he’s experienced and to help others who face the same type of hardships,” Lesser added.

For the next year, Joe and his family will represent the Commonwealth at events across the country.

Most recently, they took a congressional visit to Washington D.C., where they met with members of congress.

Joe’s family said that they hope to use this experience to shed light on the importance of children’s health care here in the United States.

Sen. Lesser Secures $214,000 in Senate Budget for Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative’s Manufacturing Training Program

An amendment filed by Senator Lesser was unanimously approved by the Senate to fund a Manufacturing Training Program at the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative (LPVEC).

“This funding will provide much-needed help to create a larger, skilled workforce throughout Hampden County,” Lesser said.

The amendment will help the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative (LPVEC) develop a machine technology program for students in grades 9-12 and will serve the school districts of West Springfield, Ludlow, Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, Agawam, Hampden-Wilbraham and Southwick-Tolland-Granville.

There are 214 manufacturing companies whose principal place of business is located in school districts served by the LPVEC, creating opportunity to directly link students to job vacancies in their immediate area.

/ In Press Release / By Ryan Migeed / Comments Off on Sen. Lesser Secures $214,000 in Senate Budget for Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative’s Manufacturing Training Program

With Sen. Lesser’s Support, MA Senate Increases Aid to Hampden-Wilbraham School District

The Massachusetts Senate adopted a budget amendment increasing funding for school transportation in regional school districts, including Hampden-Wilbraham, by $2.5 million to a total of $59,021,000.

“School transportation has been one of the most difficult challenges for the Hampden-Wilbraham district,” Lesser said. “This measure will provide much-needed relief, and free up local money for other priorities.”

“I was pleased to learn that Senator Lesser and the MA State Senate have supported an increase in Regional School Transportation funding,” said Hampden-Wilbraham School Superintendent Martin O’Shea. “As a District covering over 40 square miles, HWRSD relies on Regional Transportation Aid to provide thousands of students with safe transportation to and from school.”

The amendment, which passed the Senate, increases reimbursement rates to 73 percent for all school districts, including Hampden-Wilbraham. This represents a notable increase from the projected FY15 rate of 64 percent, and a significant increase since FY11, when the rate was 58 percent.

In 2014, the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District faced a significant budget shortfall, when state aid for school transportation was abruptly cut.

Rep. Petrolati & Sen. Lesser Secure Funding for Ludlow Mills Riverwalk Improvements

Significant funds for public safety improvements on the Ludlow Mills Riverwalk have been included in both the Massachusetts House and Senate budget proposals. These funds will allow for the installation of lighting, benches, trash receptacles and historic signage along the Riverwalk.

Rep. Thomas Petrolati (D-Ludlow) led efforts in the House to secure $350,000 in funding for the Riverwalk, which is part of the Ludlow Mills Preservation and Redevelopment master plan and aims to promote public health and recreation along the Chicopee River.

“This is the third year in a row that the House has fully funded the Ludlow Mills Riverwalk,” Petrolati said. “It has always remained a key component of the revitalization program in bringing back economic vitality to a once thriving and integral part of Ludlow. I am pleased to see that the Senate has secured funding for the first time and will now be helpful in the budget conference.”

In the Senate, Sen. Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow) also worked to secure funding for the Riverwalk, which was passed as an amendment to the FY16 Senate budget in the amount of $170,000.

“The new riverwalk will allow the people of Ludlow to reconnect with the Chicopee River, improve quality of life, and help spur redevelopment of the Ludlow Mills, creating more jobs and economic opportunity for Ludlow and the surrounding community,” Lesser said.

The final allocation will be determined in a budget conference committee and signed into law by Governor Baker this summer. This allocation will accompany $600,000 in private funding already secured for the project from MassDevelopment.

In March, Rep. Petrolati and Sen. Lesser brought Jay Ash, the Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, on a tour of the Ludlow Mills complex and the site of the Riverwalk.

The riverwalk is part of a broader redevelopment of the Ludlow Mills, which includes construction of 75 modern affordable apartments for senior citizens, and opening up the area along the Chicopee River to the Ludlow Mills businesses and to residents of the community. Phase I of the project is expected to be completed by July.