First Cohort Graduates from Accounting/Bookkeeping ELL Certificate Program; Recruiting Begins for Second Class
The 15 women and three men who recently graduated from Northern Essex Community College’s English Language Learner Accounting and Bookkeeping Certificate Program, acquired more than just job skills. They also developed new friendships, a strong support system, and a newfound confidence.
Delia Duran-Clark, coordinator of the pilot program, told the diverse group of adult students that they were “brave and committed” students.
For 16-weeks the students attended class Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for the free certificate program funded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and offered through NECC’s Center for Adult Education Programs and Preparations Integrated English Literacy & Civics Education. The students worked on improving their English, math, digital literacy, college and career readiness, as well as bookkeeping and accounting skills.
The program is already recruiting for the next cohort that will run for 20 weeks beginning in September. That program is also free. For additional information contact Clark at dduranclark @necc.mass.edu
Irene Chalek, senior director, of the program, told the graduates clad in caps and gowns, “We are so proud of you and your successes. You’ve supported one another through academic and personal challenges. You’ve studied together, become friends, and formed community.”
She encouraged them to nurture their friendships and continue their education. “You have the ability to push each other forward and reach your goals.”
Duran-Clark offered them advice for their future – build community, always have a good book to read, develop “grit” or perseverance, network, and remember that every person they meet is a new opportunity.
The first student-speaker Ernie Cintron-Rosario told his classmates that when he first read the flier advertising the program and dared to think of himself as a student at Northern Essex “it felt like a crazy idea at first”. After completing the program and making sacrifices to do it, he said “I think we can agree it’s all been worth it.”
“I know for a fact (this program) made a difference in our futures,” he said. “I see great leaders in front of me.”
He encouraged his classmates to continue their learning whether it be a new language or how to cook or how to dance. “I thank you for sharing a piece of you with me every day.”
The second student speaker Mercedes Perez-Alvarez, holds a bachelor’s degree from her native Colombia and a master’s degree from the Sorbonne. Having lived in India, Turkey, Chile, and Mexico, she is multilingual. She hopes to continue studying in NECC’s accounting program.
She too encouraged the rest of the class to continue their education.
“Please don’t ever let age, race, language, or religion stop you from learning,” she said.