Mission Statement

The Southern Hilltowns Adult Education Center is a community resource for adult learners, where the individual’s education and career goals are supported in a learner-led environment. Students can study math, science, reading, writing, social studies, computers and other subjects that enhance workplace skills and encourage leadership. The Center honors and welcomes the rich diversity of its community of learners and teachers.

Who We Are

SHAEC was started in the summer of 1999 as an extension of the UMass Labor/Management Workplace Education Program. It is funded by a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Mass Dept. of Housing and Community Development. SHAEC is a small part of a larger grant that funds capital improvements to small towns, such as street, road, and sidewalk improvements. A portion of the grant supports social service agencies, such as SHAEC. The CBDG grant is through the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC), through the lead town of Chester, in partnership with Huntington, and Middlefield.

What We Do

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, Job search and work readiness programs, 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. Our focus has continued to be on Adult Basic Education and Computer literacy, but has also grown to include classes in Sustainability, Health and well -being, and classes to support small businesses.

How We Do It

SHAEC has been able to offer such a wide variety of classes thanks to partnerships with community organizations and businesses. SHAEC has partnered Jacobs Ladder Business Association, The Hilltown CDC, and the Western Mass Hilltown Hikers, as well as community members, who share their expertise with their Hilltown neighbors.

How You Can Help

There are many ways you can help. Consider volunteering to teach a class, or perhaps join “Friends of SHAEC”, a non-profit 501c3 fundraising and support group to help support SHAEC programming throughout the year.

You can also help by hanging flyers in your community, or help in other ways to advertise our classes, such as posting them on social networking sites.

If you believe quality, adult education is important in the Hilltowns, and would like to help out the Friends of SHAEC in their fundraising efforts, please contact us at SHAEC for our next meeting date and time.

If you would like to donate to the Friends of SHAEC, our mailing address is SHAEC, 26A Main street, Chester, MA Contact us with your thoughts and ideas at 413-354-1055 or email us at Southernhilltownsaec@gmail.com