To the editor: As we settle into our “new normal,” there continues to be much talk about jobs in our community.

This is an important and necessary conversation that supports our growth as a county. However, in the midst of these discussions, it’s vital to shine a spotlight on professional development. The challenge of building a career has only increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for women. Berkshire Business and Professional Women recognizes the many hardworking women in our county working diligently to advance their careers. Many women in our community are juggling parental responsibilities, full-time jobs and educational pursuits to help themselves get ahead.

For nearly 30 years, the BBPW Career Advancement Scholarship Program has been actively assisting women in our community. The financial barriers that working women face as they pursue continuing education and other career development endeavors can often be daunting, but the BBPW Career Advancement Scholarship is available to assist with these costs. Scholarships may be used toward tuition, books, transportation, child care, uniforms, exam fees or any other expenses incurred for college, graduate school, vocational programs, licensing exams or other areas of professional development.

Whether you are returning to school after a few decades, finally finishing a degree, learning new skills to make a career change or preparing to take a licensing exam to take your career to the next level, the BBPW Career Advancement Scholarship might be for you.

Last year, BBPW scholarships provided $21,000 in scholarships to support 22 local women. Many of our scholarship recipients go on to give back to our community in various ways — some through their careers in the nonprofit or education, others as entrepreneurs and executives. Many serve as mentors and role models for other women through BBPW and other organizations.

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Regardless of your path, the BBPW Career Advancement Scholarship is here to help. The application is open now through June 18. For complete details on eligibility and more information, please visit berkshirebpw.org/programs/scholarship.

Hannah DeLisle-Stall, Pittsfield

Ivy Rodriguez Campos, Pittsfield

The writers are the co-chairs of the Berkshire Business and Professional Wwomen Scholarship Committee.