Public participation is essential to the planning practice. Without gathering community input, we can miss critical details necessary for plan success. Recognizing the importance of involving the people potentially affected by a project in the visioning and decision-making process, public outreach is often a requirement of many grants. Grants with public outreach requirements include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to complete local hazard mitigation plans, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) planning and action grants.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic disaster have changed the lives of all of us. Sadly, this crisis has created untold hardships for many. It has, however, brought out the best in some people who went out their of way to help others, or made an extraordinary effort to respond to some aspect of this crisis. BRPC is recognizing those efforts and thanking those participants at our public meetings and on this page as they are nominated:
In August 2019, Berkshire County employed 65,112 people, with an additional 2,101 unemployed, resulting in a labor force of 67,213 and an unemployment rate of 3.1%. In the intervening year, COVID-19 hit. By August 2020, Berkshire County employed 54,976, with an additional 6,727 unemployed, resulting in a labor force of 61,703 and an unemployment rate of 10.9%. The number employed had dropped to a low of 48,028 in April 2020, and unemployment jumped to a high of 17.8% in June 2020. This two-month delay is likely due to people not filing initially, with an expectation of their jobs returning quickly, only to realize after two months that their layoff was going to last longer.