In 2013 as the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation was developing its new Community Investment Plan, one of the most pressing community needs was for post secondary education. Employers were concerned about finding fully trained workers. Unemployed and underemployed residents needed educational resources to attain and update job skills. There was no educational facility beyond high school located in this 400 + square mile region with little public transportation. QVCDC research indicated education levels that were dramatically behind the Massachusetts average in several communities.
As QVCDC and the community began a series of meetings to work on solutions, important links and partnerships were built. A local community banking partner of QVCDC offered to donate 4500 ft. of Class A space in downtown Ware to house this new facility. A local community foundation utilized Community Investment Tax Credits to support the establishment of the facility. With a physical location and demonstrated community support in place, Holyoke Community College signed on to provide onsite workforce training, and online credit bearing classes at E2E. Local employers donated equipment and labor to fit out the space, and the local vocational school built a beautifully crafted podium. Additional support provided the sign, technology and computers for students to use. The Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board launched a pilot program to provide regular onsite staff support for both job seekers and employers closing a 30 mile gap to their closest office.
In addition to being a respectful space for people to access job skill and educational resources, E2E has created an eye-catching visual presence in the downtown Ware streetscape. It brings vibrancy as well as resources to downtown Ware.
Community Investment Tax Credits have been used to accomplish community building that is not just a program, but is a physical space located in the heart of the downtown.