The Southern Hilltowns Adult Education Center (SHAEC) is offering support for southern Hilltown residents to enter into the healthcare field through a new partnership with Holyoke Community College (HCC) and local health care businesses. The number one need for trained workers in the state is in health care.

Thanks to a partnership created through the CARES Act grant, residents for the towns of Blandford, Chester, Huntington, Middlefield, Montgomery, and Russell can attend Holyoke Community College’s Community Health Worker training program free of charge, receiving nine college credits through the online program. Residents are also eligible to receive technical support from SHAEC, as well as assistance in qualifying for the program.

Additionally, SHAEC can help refer you to local businesses that offer paid on-the-job training for Certified Nurses Aide, Home Health Aide, and Homemaker/Companion positions.

Interested parties should register online as soon as possible at with either “Community Health Worker” or “Health Care On the Job Training” in the class line. Classes begin the week of January 25, and space is limited.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our hilltown residents to take advantage of these online courses to explore a new career. For years, it’s been a challenge for hilltowners to attend college because of our long commutes. This evens the playing field; everyone is remote,” said SHAEC Program Director Michele Kenney.

Questions about the program may be directed to Kenney at or by leaving a message at 354-1055.

SHAEC also now offers fully remote self-paced GED/HiSEt classes, giving students the opportunity to create their own schedule in order to obtain their high school equivalency diploma.

The program is paid for by the CARES grant, for residents of the Gateway Regional School district. Please register online at with GED/ HiSEt in the Class line.