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Health Workers Prepare for Careers in New El-Hefni Center

Submitted by on March 24, 2014 – 2:28 pm
El-Hefni Ribbon cutting

Left to right Dr. Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner Department of Higher Education, State Rep. Frank Moran, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, NECC President Lane Glenn, Wensley El-Hefni, Suzanne Wright, State Rep. Diana DiZoglio, Lawrence Mayor and NECC Trustee Daniel Rivera. Rear, State Rep. Marcos Devers, Carole Cornelison, Commissioner Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, State Senator Barry Finegold, State Senator Susan Tucker, Chair of the NECC Board of Trustees, William Moynihan, and Dennis Marcelo, District Director of the office of State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives.

The 300 people who attended the March 21 ribbon cutting for Northern Essex Community College’s Dr. Ibrahim El-Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center in Lawrence were most impressed with the ambulance which is embedded in the first floor of the building.

The building was constructed around the ambulance—donated by TrinityEMS— which is being used to train students in the college’s paramedic technology programs. 

While the ambulance has a “Wow” factor, the rest of the space also elicited admiration from the crowd.

The 44,000 square foot facility features a Health Education Simulation Center, where health care students receive hands-on experience in simulated environments such as a hospital intensive care unit, a trauma room, an acute care hospital room, an apartment, and a doctor’s office in addition to the ambulance. The building also includes classrooms and computer labs and a Career Planning and Advising Center where students receive academic and career counseling.

“An important part of the college’s mission is providing local residents with the skills and credentials that will lead to jobs, and that is just what this new facility is helping us to do,” said Lane A. Glenn, president of Northern Essex.

bird's eye view of El-Hefni ribbon cutting ceremony

NECC President Lane Glenn addresses the crowd prior to the ribbon cutting.

Last year, 381 students received certificates and associate degrees from Northern Essex in health-related fields and 93 percent of those graduates are employed in their field a year after graduation, according to Glenn.

The building is named in memory of Dr. Ibrahim El-Hefni, a native of Egypt who was a longtime resident of North Andover and a successful business owner.  An electrical engineer, he began his business in the basement of his home, and for 30 years provided jobs for hundreds of people.  Before his death he created a foundation, now carried on by his widow Wensley El-Hefni, which has provided significant support to the college, including a $1 million donation to provide equipment for the new building. 

Additionally the project received funding from TrinityEMS, People’s United Bank (originally Lawrence Savings Bank), R. Kingman & Dee Webster, and the Abbot & Dorothy H. Stevens Foundation

Jobs was a common theme during the program which included remarks by President Glenn;  U.S. Congresswoman Niki Tsongas; Dr. Richard M. Freeland, commissioner, Department of Higher Education; Carole Cornelison, commissioner, Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance; Daniel Rivera, mayor of Lawrence; Suzanne Wright, El-Hefni Technical Training Foundation; and William J. Moynihan, chairperson, NECC Board of Trustees.

Rivera said “This is not just a ribbon cutting.  It’s the rebirth of a section of our city that’s been neglected for a long time.  It will uplift our downtown, creating jobs and revitalizing the economy.”

The El-Hefni family standing in front of the wall honoring Dr. Ibrahim El-Hefni.

The El-Hefni family standing in front of the wall honoring Dr. Ibrahim El-Hefni.

The facility is home to nine of Northern Essex’s health care programs including Respiratory Care, Sleep Technology, Emergency Medical Technology, and Nursing.   The Dental Assistant and Radiologic Technology programs will continue to be located at the Dimitry Building at 45 Franklin St. and the iHealth Building, also on Franklin St., offers additional certificate and associate degree programs—in areas such medical laboratory technician, healthcare technician, medical billing, medical coding, medical office assistant and ophthalmic assistant. 

Architects Miller Dyer Spears—who also designed the Hartleb Technology Center on the college’s Haverhill Campus—designed the three-story contemporary structure, featuring sleek silver accents. It is a silver LEED project that takes full advantage of the sun as a source of energy.

The community is invited to tour the El-Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center at an Open House on Saturday, April 5 from 10 a.m. to noon.  For more information contact, Enrollment Services at 978 556-3700 or admissions@necc.mass.edu.

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