Berkshire Money Management has committed $30,000 to sponsoring the BETA (Berkshire E-Talent Accelerator) program at the Pittsfield-based Berkshire Innovation Center. As reported in a media release,  the pilot program is open to high school juniors, seniors, and recent graduates countywide, and is an experiential learning program that will expose students to local STEM career opportunities. The goal of the program is to immerse students in fundamentals critical to these career paths and teach them to utilize the advanced equipment and community mentors available through the Berkshire Innovation Center. There were more than 40 applicants for the fall module and recently 20 were selected to participate.

“The pool of applicants was so diverse and their responses to the application questions were absolutely compelling,” says BMM Community Development Director Nichole Dupont, who was on the selection committee. “What became very clear while going through the applications is that there is an absolute need for this kind of programming for our young people. And that the pandemic has deeply impacted their lives, probably forever, and yet they continue to find ways to traverse unimaginable obstacles.”

The first BETA-1 program, which will run from Oct. 12-Nov. 24 (after school), will be separated into four verticals — advanced manufacturing and material science, software and programming, electronics and electrical engineering, and IT and security. Students will receive a $1500 stipend for their participation. At the conclusion of the program, each student team will present their projects to a panel of judges. Each member of the winning team will receive a scholarship prize. Project work and presentations will be captured digitally and archived on the virtual collaboration platform and on the BIC website.

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