Menu button
Home » Programs

NECC Receives Grant to Accelerate Education of English Language Learners

Submitted by on July 8, 2013 – 2:22 pm

Thanks to a three-year, $300,000 Smith Family Foundation grant, Northern Essex Community College will be able to provide a Career Pathways Bridge Program that will place, per year, some 40 advanced English language learners with aspirations of a career in health or information technology on the fast track to reaching their goal.

This new, two-semester program, which begins in September at NECC’s Riverwalk campus on Merrimack Street in Lawrence, integrates intensive English reading and writing, math, career, and college readiness skills. Northern Essex will receive $100,000 a year for the next three years.

This program was designed specifically to accelerate the education of advanced English language learners from the Merrimack Valley who are not quite ready to enter a college degree or certificate program.

“All too frequently we see students who are advanced in their English speaking skills and want to pursue a degree, but have no awareness of what a health or IT career might entail,” says Irene Chalek, executive director, Center for Adult Education Programs and Practitioners. “After completing this program they should have the career awareness and English skills to choose and enter a college Certificate program.” The Career Pathways Bridge Program will fast track these individuals.

“Many adults don’t have the time or the money to persist,” says Amanda Kelly, coordinator of the Career Pathways Bridge Program. “This program will accelerate their English skills and bridge them to Certificate programs and eventual gainful employment.”

“This is an intensive program,” says Chalek “designed for motivated students.” All students will be required to complete additional hours of work outside of class.

Classes will be held nights and Saturdays. Participants must be assessed before entering the program. For additional information contact Amanda Kelly at 978-659-1283 or

The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation is committed to effecting permanent positive change in the lives of the residents of Greater Boston, particularly individuals and families in economically disadvantaged communities. Today, three generations of the Smith family oversee the Foundation, stewarding approximately $10 million annually in grants aimed at promoting greater health, educational attainment, and economic mobility.