Congresswoman Trahan Visits NECC Lawrence
On Monday, April 22, the college’s new representative in Congress, Lori Trahan, visited Northern Essex Community College’s Lawrence Campus.
In an opening meeting with college leadership and trustees, NECC President Lane Glenn shared the success of the college’s PACE Program, a federally funded student support program, and plans for a regional public safety center in the city.
This was Congresswoman Trahan’s first visit to campus since taking office in January, and she took the opportunity to pledge her support for community colleges.
Currently a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, which oversees education and workforce programs, Trahan said “If we’re going to set up everyone for financial success we need to support our community colleges. What you’ve accomplished is impressive…Let me know what I can do to help.”
In his remarks, NECC President Lane Glenn focused on the success of the PACE program, a federally funded program that serves 250 first-generation, low income and /or disabled students each year, helping them to graduate and transfer to four-year colleges.
Northern Essex has had funding for the PACE Program for almost 40 years, and students in the program benefit from scholarships; workshops on topics such as financial literacy, essay writing, and transfer; transfer advising; and mentoring.
Last year, Northern Essex spent $1561 on each PACE student, thanks to the federal grant funding, according to Glenn. PACE’s 80 percent student success rate proves that providing additional resources has an impact. “We know what works,” said Glenn. “$1561 per student is what it would cost to improve higher education outcomes across the country.”
Glenn also shared plans to build a regional public safety center in Lawrence in partnership with the city and the state. This center has been in discussion for the past seven years. It would be located where the current police station is now, providing economic development benefits for the city, an opportunity to grow the college’s criminal justice program, and high quality training for public safety departments statewide.
Following the opening meeting, Trahan toured the El Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center, where most of the college’s health care programs are taught, and met with first-year nursing students to discuss their goals and challenges.
After listening to a rap video on the circulatory system, the congresswoman had a discussion with NECC nursing students.
David Torres of Methuen was the first to share his story. “I personally chose Northern Essex because I’m from here. I’m getting a phenomenal education. We learn in the SIM labs and then go out to different hospitals and get experience.”
Rhiannon Egan, the mother of two children under the age of four, and Jennifer Assenza, who is a single parent of three children, are both nursing students, who said they appreciate being able to participate in the PACE program. “I’m a first generation college student,” said Egan. “And I appreciate the college visits, the advising, and workshops on topics such as writing essays.”
Speaking of Northern Essex, Azzenza said “Everything you need is here.”
Trahan told the students that she herself is a first generation college student, who attended UMass Lowell with the help of a volleyball scholarship.