Holly Bellebuono, administrator, entrepreneur, and communicator, has recently been appointed executive director of ACE MV Bellebuono was recently executive co-ordinator for Healthy Aging M.V., a program of Community Services. She brings a varied background as a longtime business owner (founder of Vineyard Herbs), author, and educator to her new task. Bellebuono aims to continue ACE MV’s success, expanding the curriculum based on the needs of the community.
“ACE MV serves various constituencies, providing courses for adults and high school students and graduates,” Bellebuono says. “One of the Island’s needs we address is providing for-credit college and certification courses that are otherwise difficult to achieve due to travel logistics. Because ACE MV works in partnership with accredited institutions as well as drawing on experts who live here and serve as our faculty, we can help year-rounders advance their career goals.”
ACE MV offers courses in business, computers and technology, technical training and licensure, world languages, and arts and enrichment. In partnership with Bristol Community College, Cape Cod Community College, Fitchburg State College, and Massachusetts Maritime Academy, ACE MV helps Islanders pursue specific educational interests and requirements through GED, college and graduate credit, and certificate courses.
Lynn Ditchfield, a former ACE MV executive director, who helped get ACE MV off the ground, saw the organization grow from a selection of courses initially helped with administrative support by the school district into a not-for-profit organization in 2010. “We understood that we had a rich environment of experts in their respective fields living on the Island, happy to share their experience by participating as instructors. We also knew fees alone would not be able to sustain the programming, and in 2013 we approached the six Island towns for partial support, which was and is extremely helpful.” Bellebuono adds, “We pursue grants, and we are seeking individuals and families who wish to invest in providing a broad education for Islanders pursuing a variety of careers that will ultimately support the Vineyard community as a whole.”
“Most classes meet at the high school, which has created a ‘learning campus’ for multiple needs and ages, as well as providing our office space, for which we do pay rent,” Bellebuono continues, “We are working with M.V. Builders Association and other trade organizations to provide certificates and licenses in trades; we work with M.V. Hospital, M.V. Community Services, and other clinician groups to determine the needs and provide certificates and licenses in healthcare and health-related careers; we are partnering with Vineyard Power Cooperative for the new green energy, engineering, and technical courses that are part of the upcoming offshore wind technician certificate. In addition, we support the high school in its CTE program — career and technical education — which provides students with introductions into seven areas of career interest, and builds community and business support for training and internships: culinary arts, horticulture, building trades, automotive technology, health assisting, marine studies and nautical science, and aquaculture.”
First classes at ACE MV begin Sept. 17. Register and get information online at acemv.org or call 508-693-9222.