Three Berkshire County companies share in job grants

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Thursday December 22, 2011

PITTSFIELD -- Three Berkshire County companies are among 138 similar state firms that will share $11.4 million in Workforce Training Fund grants from the Patrick-Murray Administration.

The grants support up to two years of training, and are expected to train 13,000 workers, while creating 1,700 new jobs.

In the Berkshires, the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge received $144,700 in Workforce Training Fund grants, while Onyx Specialty Papers in Lee received $136,587. Berkmatics Inc. of North Adams, which has provided machine parts to various industries since 1940, received $22,200.

Berkmatics spokeswoman Donna Benoit said the company plans to use the funding to train employees to make products for a local company in the aerospace industry. The grant may also allow Berkmatics to hire new employees, Benoit said. Berkmatics' first request for the funding had been denied by the state, and the company had been seeking the grant for a year.

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One of South County's largest employers, Kripalu has been re-inventing itself and expanding its impact both regionally and nationally since David Surrenda was named CEO in October 2010. Kripalu attracts about 32,000 visitors annually.

One of the county's two remaining paper manufacturers, Onyx has increased payroll by adding more employees since co-owners Patricia Begrowicz and Christopher Matthews purchased the mill from MeadWestvaco in November 2009. Sales of Onyx products in the automotive, construction and medical industries increased by 33 percent in 2010.

The Patrick-Murray Administration has invested more than $64 million through the Workforce Training Grant Fund to train 85,000-plus workers across the state in a range of industries since 2007.

"We are committed to helping employers and our work force with this programs," said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Joanne Goldstein.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6224.


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