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Governor Charlie Baker spent the day in Western Massachusetts on Tuesday, September 15th. He began his day with a visit to Lt. Clayre P. Sullivan School in Holyoke, MA to tour one of the 45 new preschool classrooms that are opening this school year with the Massachusetts Preschool Expansion Grant program. Massachusetts had applied for up to $60 million over the next four years through the federal Preschool Expansion Grant, and it is being administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

In total, there are five cities–Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield–that have received a combined total of over $14 million through this grant. These cities have developed partnerships with their local public school district and community-based programs licensed by the Department of Early Education and Care, with hopes of expanding the number of high-quality preschool classrooms serving 4-year-old children in their community. More than 850 children are being provided with a year of high-quality preschool education.

“The goal is to ensure that more children have access to the educational resources they need to put them on an early path to success, and achieve proficiency in reading by the end of the third grade.”

– Governor Charlie Baker.

Affordable Housing Announcement, 9.15.15Governor Baker’s next stop was Lyman Terrace in Holyoke where the conversation changed from Pre-K education to affordable housing. Joined by Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development Chrystal Kornegay and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, Governor Baker announced the awards for the 2015 competition to fund affordable rental housing development, renovation, and preservation across the Commonwealth. The total funded projects represent 1,484 total housing units, including 1,119 affordable units, located in every region of the state. The Administration is awarding $29,202,652 in federal and state tax credits, which will generate approximately $182 million in equity to the recommended projects. In addition, the Administration is awarding $45.8 million in subsidy funds to support these projects. Mayor Morse was grateful for Governor Baker’s award and visit. He believes that this award will be able to help the city grow and develop better than he could have imagined.

“One of the best things we can do to keep and grow our community is to provide for the development of quality neighborhoods. Now, with the state’s help, we can build a downtown that leaves no one behind.”

– Holyoke Mayor Alex B. Morse

FutureWorks Visit, 9.15.15Taking a quick drive south, Governor Baker headed to Springfield where he visited with staff and job seekers at FutureWorks Career Center. The center is a place for people to learn job search skills through various workshops and access information on publicly-funded training. Springfield Mayor Sarno joined Governor Baker for a tour of the center led by Executive Director Kevin Lynn.

Before heading back east, Governor Baker toured ISO New England, a Holyoke-based not-for-profit overseeing the region’s wholesale electricity markets.

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, who spent the morning on the South Shore signing Community Compacts with officials in Carver and Halifax, joined Governor Baker in North Grafton at the Community Harvest Project’s farm in North Grafton. Volunteers at both the North Grafton and Harvard farms plant, tend and harvest fresh fruits and vegetables for neighbors in need. While on site, Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito were given a tour that included the Learning Garden, the greenhouse, the wash station, and the packing and distribution station, and had the opportunity to talk with volunteer staff.

Community Harvest Tour, 9.15.15

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