BerkshireWorks names new director

PITTSFIELD — The interim executive director at the BerkshireWorks Career Center is now the permanent one.

Melanie Gelaznik, who has served as BerkshireWorks' program operations manager for 24 years, was named the permanent executive director of both BerkshireWorks and Berkshire Training and Employment Inc. on Thursday by the BTE board of directors. The career center's executive director is also an employee of BTE.

An Adams resident, Gelaznik had been serving as BerkshireWorks' interim executive director since former director Ken Demers died suddenly in June. She had also served as the career center's interim executive director on two other occasions, most recently in 2014 before Demers was hired.

During the last three years, BTE has made the transition to a private nonprofit organization, and Demers had a vital role in that vision and process, said Jay Sacchetti, the president of BTE's board of directors.

"It got started through him and Melanie was really well positioned to continue that vision," Sachetti said.

In a written statement, the board said it is confident that Gelaznik's qualifications, current performance and long-term commitment to BTE make her "ideally suited for the position" and will ensure BTE's "ongoing stability and consistency."

Gelaznik brings stability to an organization that has had four previous executive directors since 2010.

"We've been very comfortable with her experience and knowledge for many years," Sacchetti said. "We felt that it was the best fit at this time."

Gelaznik came to BerkshireWorks after serving as a trainer at General Dynamics.

"As a dislocated worker (at General Dynamics) I understood the mission of what we do here at the center," Gelaznik said. "It was very relatable to me and important to me to help people who were unemployed or needed to get skills."

She described serving as BerkshireWorks' executive director as a "long term goal."

"I've been here and served in this role before and thought I would be the right person to continue in this position," she said.

"I just felt that it was my time," she said. "I didn't really think too much about it the last few times there was a vacancy. But after bringing in new people and bringing people up to speed I ended up training the executive director, so I thought I would just apply for it myself."

Gelaznik has modest goals for the position.

"I just want to make sure that we're on track with our performance measures and building our relationships with businesses," she said. "That's one of our main focuses."

A quasi-public agency, BerkshireWorks is a partnership between the Berkshire Training & Employment Program and the Massachusetts Division of Career Services, chartered by the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board. The center's mission is to provide access to a system of comprehensive employment programs and services for businesses, job seekers, workers and employers in all 32 Berkshire municipalities.

The mayor of Pittsfield had been the appointing authority for the executive director's position at BerkshireWorks by virtue of being the county's largest municipality. But BTE assumed that task when it became the career's center's new governing entity under federal legislation that went into effect July 1.

Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at 413 496-6224.


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