The Western Massachusetts Development Conference was held at the MassMutual Center Monday.
Hundreds of business leaders and public officials from across western Massachusetts came together to discuss economic development in Massachusetts.
The conference is held every other year to evaluate the progress being in made in workforce development, innovation, and entrepreneurship in our region.
Keynote speaker Governor Charlie Baker and others highlighted the importance of higher education and housing opportunities to support the region’s economy.
“They provide the research and development, they also provide the connection to the students in the workforce and that’s really going to be the driving force for our economy going forward,” said Rick Sullivan, president, and CEO of Western MA Economic Development Council.
“Market rate housing brings disposable income, disposable income is spent at restaurants and then around restaurants, shops open up and then the next thing you know you have an emerging downtown,” Secretary of Housing and Economic Development in Massachusetts told 22News. “Springfield is lucky because it has a lot of activity going on, but there’s a lot more that can happen here and in other communities.”
Sullivan said many western Massachusetts communities now have tax incentives for businesses to stimulate economic development. He added that there’s been a significant rise in businesses and investors in western Massachusetts since the last time they held the conference two years ago.