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Biz Briefs: Williamstown Contractor Named to Big50 Class of America' Top Remodelers
03:59PM / Monday, August 20, 2018
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Jack Miller Contractors of Williamstown has been selected by Remodeling magazine to join the Remodeling Big50. (Photo by Kenzie Fields.)

Remodeling recognition

Jack Miller Contractors of Williamstown has been selected by Remodeling magazine to join the Remodeling Big50. Each year since 1986, the Remodeling Big50 inducts 50 remodeling companies that have set exceptionally high standards for professionalism and integrity through exemplary business practices, craftsmanship and impact in their community or the industry at large. Big50 remodelers run successful, often growing, companies of various sizes that have taken the lead in raising industry standards.

This year's Big50 includes full-service remodelers, home improvement firms, insurance restoration firms and specialists in specific parts of the homes, such as basements, kitchens and bathrooms. Some have a history going back decades, while others are just a few years old. The 2018 Big50 winners are featured in the August-September issue of Remodeling, a national trade publication read by more than 150,000 professional remodeling contractors. Longer profiles of Jack Miller Contractors and the rest of this year’s winners are posted on the Remodeling website.

Jack Miller Contractors is a full-service general contractor building distinctive new homes and remodel projects in the Berkshires and Southern Vermont. Their in-house team of skilled carpenters and project managers works closely with clients, architects and trade contractors to build beautiful, durable and efficient homes in a collaborative environment. For more information, visit the website or call 413-884-6124.


Financial literacy grant

Berkshire Community College has been awarded a nearly $200,000 grant from Guardian Life Insurance Company of America for a proposal to expand the college's financial literacy programming to continue offering, at no cost to students, the Money Management for Life course, as well as debt forgiveness grants. The grant will also support hiring a new financial services coach at the college, offering paid internships to students, and expanded marketing for the Guardian-supported efforts.

The college received an initial grant last year from Guardian to begin offering a free three-credit course to students called BUS 139: Money Management for Life. The class covers strategies to help students manage budgets, expenses and debt; save and invest for the future; plan for the unexpected; and establish personal financial plans to achieve their goals. It is being offered again this fall, both on the main campus and at the South County Center.

In the funding for 2018-19, the college's proposal included hiring a full-time student financial literacy coach, who will promote and coordinate financial literacy initiatives across the campus. The coach will help students understand their financial health, develop a new Guardian Internship program, and collaborate with community organizations in Berkshire County to promote financial literacy through workshops and outreach events. This will be a new position at the College that will help students not only to successfully repay loans, but also to manage their finances on a daily basis.

The grant from Guardian will also help pay for the textbooks for the Money Management for Life class, and it will help pay the student accounts community college debt (up to $1,800 per student that qualifies) for up to 32 students over the course of the year. Students who receive this tuition reimbursement will also be enrolled in the Personal Money Management class.

Over the course of the year, the grant will also help develop a new internship program for students and help to connect BCC’s academic programs with the community to place students in internship positions. The Student Financial Literacy coach will oversee and evaluate this program, and work closely with the Coordinator of Career Services to place students in the internship program.


Housing grant

Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation has made a $1,000 grant to the Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire, funding its work building low-moderate income housing and creating jobs in the Berkshires. This grant will support the organization by growing its general fund to expand staff and further the nonprofits important work helping families and individuals in the southern Berkshire region.

Most recently, CDCSB was awarded approximately $15 million for its Bentley Apartments project in Great Barrington. These affordable housing funds from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development complete the financing package for the housing project as well as the remediation of 100 Bridge, the former New England Log Homes site. Construction is expected to commence in late spring 2019.

The CDCSB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating job opportunities, promoting economic development, and building low-moderate income housing in the southern Berkshires. In collaboration with other like-minded organizations, CDCSB has helped build over 60 affordable housing units and leveraged over $36 million in private and public funding.

As a nonprofit organization, CDCSB actively seeks support for its many ongoing projects and programs. To make a donation or for further information about CDCSB, visit the website or call 413-528-7788.


Money School

Elizabeth Freeman Center will be offering five new series of Money School, its free, award-winning financial independence series for people impacted by domestic or sexual violence. Money School helps participants build their financial futures. It offers one-on-one financial coaching, income resources, help with getting jobs and going back to school, social asset building, credit repair, and ongoing individual support once the series has ended. Participants receive a stipend ($125 cash), free dinner and childcare.

Money School is open to anyone impacted by domestic abuse or sexual assault. Many times survivors of violence are left struggling financially. Money School is designed to address the long-term financial impact of trauma.

EFC is offering a Money School series in English in North Adams on Wednesday evenings, Sept. 5 through Oct. 10. Other English series are planned in November and again in April in Pittsfield and one in Great Barrington in February. To register, contact Donna, Money School facilitator, at Elizabeth Freeman Center, by email or by phone at 413-499-2425, ext. 207. EFC will offer the Money School series in Spanish in Pittsfield in February.

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