Greenfield Community College sponsored the event, Before the main speaker, GCC president Bob Pura did a quick demo, asking all people who have attended, have family who have attended or have worked with GCC students. Almost everyone stood up.
When I saw Bob Pura, GCC president, in line for eggs, he said that GCC faculty have told him they'd like to have student intern at the Café. The Café was very lucky to have one GCC intern, Joshua Freund, for the last semester and a new one, Shannon Dry, on the way.
I sat at a table with Michael Truckey of the Franklin-Hampshire Career Center. I asked about supporting our unemployed volunteers in finding work. He recommended they come register at the career center and take advantage if HITG, whereby employers can receive $2,000 for hiring veterans or formerly incarcerated people.
The keynote speaker was Richard Davey, Secretary & CEO of the MA Dept. of Transportation. He talked about how his salary, as part of the DOT budget, is funded by capital bonds, which is like a business owner funding their salary with credit card. This made me glad that the Café is a lean operation fueled by lots of volunteer effort. We can build relationships, skills and reputation before considering major capital expenditures.
He talked about bringing a greater sense of urgency to the work of the DOT, fixing roads after weather disasters more quickly and reforming employee benefits to reflect private sector standards. The DOT is also creating ways for citizens to check the website and see whether they are on time and on budget. In the work of the cafe, we also try to pull from the best of private and public sector practices.
After the talk, the first person to ask a question wondered when the Turners Falls bridge would be complete. Davey explained that utilities are a major factor that cause delay on bridge completion. Another woman asked whether lanes will be added to route 2, a promise made to her when she moved to Greenfield in the 1950's. He explained that him and the governor are thinking more about investing in public transit systems, rather than than expanding highways.