GCC, FRCOG team up to offer training in municipal accounting

  • Greenfield Community College. Staff File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Report
Published: 6/29/2021 4:29:31 PM

GREENFIELD — Greenfield Community College is collaborating with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) to offer an online course in municipal accounting that organizers hope will help address the growing shortage of trained accounting staff in municipalities across Massachusetts.

According to a GCC press release, FRCOG offers a municipal accounting program that serves 12 towns in the region with a staff of seven or eight accountants. However, whenever a staff member leaves, FRCOG Director of Regional Services Bob Dean said it is extremely difficult to find replacements who have the necessary skills and who want to work part-time and travel between towns.

Franklin County hasn’t been the only region facing this challenge. The Local Government Workforce Skills Gap Report, released by the Baker administration in 2018, showed a need for training in many local government positions across the state, including accounting. In response, Dean proposed that FRCOG develop a training program of its own. After securing funding through an Efficiency and Regionalization grant and a Community Compact grant, both offered through the state, Dean brought GCC on board to administer the course.

Offered through GCC’s Workforce Development & Community Education program, the municipal accounting course is online and asynchronous, allowing people from across the state to participate. According to the release, an orientation was held June 14, and since then students have been allowed to complete the course at their own pace. Students who finish the course will earn a certificate of completion from GCC.

“We are thrilled to partner with the FRCOG to offer this critical training in municipal accounting,” GCC Director of Workforce Training programs Kristin Cole said in the press release. “We filled 32 seats in the course in less than two weeks and have several names already on a wait list. The interest has been overwhelming.”

Although most of the interest has been among accountants already employed by municipalities, Dean also hopes the course can provide an opportunity for people pursuing new careers.

“I would love to get it to a point where folks who are looking for a new career and have an aptitude for numbers and bookkeeping, but hadn’t really thought about municipal accounting, pursue the training,” Dean said in the release. “I think this type of program is where GCC fills a vital role for Franklin County.”


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