Started in the summer of 1999 as an extension of the UMass Labor/Management Workplace Education Program, The Southern Hilltowns Adult Education Center (SHAEC) provides the only adult education program for the Southern Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. SHAEC’s programming encourages workplace readiness skills, which include computer skills, High School Equivalency Test (GED) preparation, computer readiness skills for personal and professional use, and support for small business owners in the Southern Hilltown region. We strive to meet the needs of the residents in the communities that we serve. Through a network of community volunteers, SHAEC has been able to expand its offering to include classes that encourage and promote sustainability and creativity.
SHAEC has been able to offer such a wide variety of classes thanks to partnerships with community organizations and businesses. For example, SHAEC has partnered with the Russell and Chester Senior Centers to be able to offer computer classes in the Senior Centers free of charge, as well as in the Middlefield Town Hall. SHAEC has partnered Jacobs Ladder Business Association, as well as the regional Community Development Corporations (the Hilltown CDC and the Franklin County CDC), to offer a number of quality classes to support small businesses in the region. Many JLBA members have offered free classes through SHAEC, such as Stu Besnoff of Alpine Solar Heat and Hot Water in Windsor, who taught a series of classes on renewable energy. Many classes are taught by community members who would like to share their expertise with others.
Special thanks to SHAEC funders, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, and the Massachusetts Department for Housing and Community Development.
Check out the beautiful SHAEC website: https://www.umass.edu/shaec/