Holyoke High Business Club Visits City Businesses

Last month, students from the Holyoke High School Business Club visited various businesses in Holyoke to learn about current activities supporting Holyoke’s growing diverse economy. Approximately 41 students spent the day learning about economic development with visits to Universal Plastics, Wistariahurst Museum, the Holyoke Gas & Electric fish lift, and Brick Co-Workshop.

During lunch at Wistariahurst, students heard from Mayor Morse about the City’s economic development initiatives and Rosa Pantoja, owner of Luna Designs and Pantoja Tax Services, who discussed the challenges and rewards of being a small business owner in Holyoke. The day concluded with a walking tour of the Holyoke Innovation District.This was the 9th annual field trip organized by the Holyoke Office of Planning & Economic Development.

Once again, the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority donated transportation to make the trip possible and each business owner volunteered their time to host tours and teach students about how their investments are contributing to the local economy while also reinventing former and current industrial spaces into creative, thriving businesses.

“Holyoke’s fortunate to have business owners that continue to go above and beyond for our community,” said Mayor Alex Morse. “As we strive to create a better city for Holyoke’s young people, it is vital that we encourage them to take an interest in and be a part of what’s happening in Holyoke.”

“We had a great time hosting the students this year,” said Joe Peters, CEO of Universal Plastics at 75 Whiting Farms Road in Holyoke. “It’s important that our young people are aware of the career opportunities that exist for them right in their own hometown. There is still a misconception that exists around jobs in manufacturing, and it’s important for us as business owners to change that perception by offering tours and introducing students to Holyoke’s innovative and thriving business community.”

“This is our ninth year that we’ve worked with the city to organize this field trip, and every year we learn something new about Holyoke’s many different businesses,” HHS Business Club advisor Jill Reardon said. “The artists at Brick taught us about how they can take their passion and turn it into a career; the employees at Universal Plastics walked us through what they manufacture every day; and our tour at the fish lift was a great opportunity to highlight what an important asset the Holyoke Gas & Electric is. We’re looking forward to next year!”