Education Secretary, Public Health Commissioner to Visit HCC for STEM Week

HOLYOKE — As part of statewide STEM Week activities planned by the governor’s office, Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler and Commissioner of Public Health Robbie Goldstein will visit the Center for Health Education and Simulation at Holyoke Community College (HCC) today, Oct. 17, to officially launch a new state initiative that provides free community-college education to nursing students.

The event will begin at noon with tours of the facility led by HCC nursing students. The Center for Health Education and Simulation is located at 404 Jarvis Ave., near the main HCC campus.

A short speaking program will begin around 12:30 p.m. in the center’s lobby, with remarks by Tutwiler, Goldstein, HCC President George Timmons, and HCC nursing students Afrike Phakos and Katelynn Richard. State Sens. Jo Comerford and Adam Gomez, state Reps. Pat Duffy and Brian Ashe, and Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia are also expected to attend.

Unlike the state’s new MassReconnect program, which provides free community college to students 25 and older, the state’s new nursing initiative provides free community-college education to nursing students of any age.

The Center for Health Education and Simulation is home to HCC’s nursing and radiologic technology programs. Opened in 2015, the 11,000-square-foot facility includes flexible classrooms, student study areas, a radiology suite, a large radiology image library, an image critique room, four private patient-simulation rooms, two semi-private patient-simulation rooms, three control rooms, two debriefing rooms, prop storage, prep spaces, and two larger, multi-bed lab spaces can be transformed into acute care or community environments.

For STEM Week, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, Tutwiler, and other Healey-Driscoll administration officials are hosting events across the Commonwealth highlighting the importance of STEM education.

Today’s event at HCC will also be streamed live over Zoom. To tune in, visit