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NECC Program PIÉS Latinos de NECC Wins 2019 Patrick Prize for Community Colleges

Submitted by on May 2, 2019 – 1:08 pm

Rosalin Acosta (right in photo), MA secretary of labor and workforce development and former NECC trustee, presented the Patrick Award to NECC President Lane Glenn and NECC Vice President Noemi Custodia-Lora.

Boston – The Boston Foundation is pleased to announce that Northern Essex Community College has been selected as the recipient of the 5th Annual Deval Patrick Prize for Community Colleges. The College was selected for the $50,000 award in recognition of PIÉS Latinos de NECC, a program established in 2016 to help immigrants with college credits and/or high school diplomas with additional certifications/training from other countries to reach their professional potential.

Since 2016, the program has evaluated the credentials of more than 600 immigrants, including dozens with university degrees from foreign countries, helping them gain credits and/or enroll in coursework that moves them into and through higher education in Massachusetts, at NECC and other institutions.

As a result, the program addresses the issue of ‘brain waste’ among the Merrimack Valley immigrants, where immigrants with strong education backgrounds or credentials from other countries are forced into low-wage, low-skill jobs because those credentials are not accepted or understood here.

“At a time when we know demand for skilled workers is high, this program opens doors for hundreds of talented students who can fill those roles, but deserve credit for the relevant work they have done,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “We applaud NECC for its creative and effective approach – knowing that it is just one example of the remarkable work going on at the Commonwealth’s community colleges.”

The PIÉS program works with students at a number of levels – from those who come in with robust credentials but may need volunteer work, academic ESL or other coursework at NECC to continue their studies at NECC or a four-year school, to those with high school diplomas or technical certificates who would benefit from work-based training or stackable, portable credits in addition to having their high school diploma validated.

As a result, the program reaches beyond simply validating participants’ experience to give them strategic pathways to better careers in areas like education and information technology.

“Community colleges are strengthened by the diversity and experience of our students, as we work to launch them on a road to future success,” said Lane Glenn, President of Northern Essex Community College. “PIÉS Latinos de NECC ensures that immigrant students not only get the credit for academic and work experience that they deserve, the program helps them navigate the best possible path to their personal, professional and academic goals.”

Trustee Marianne Paley Nadel; Cheryl Goodwin, NECC staff; Trustee Chair Jeff Linehan; Irene Chalek, NECC staff; Noemi Custodia Lora, NECC staff; Trustee Anita Worden; NECC President Lane Glenn; Rosalin Acosta, secretary of labor and workforce development; and Kelly Saretsky, NECC staff.

Northern Essex Community College was recognized at an event at the Boston Foundation on May 1. Earlier in the day, the Foundation released a new report from authors Richard Kazis and Nancy Snyder that highlighted the need and opportunity for the Commonwealth to create policies and programs that increase access to paid internships for community college students.

To learn more about PIÉS Latinos de NECC, contact Analuz Garcia,, 978 738 7423 (office) or 978 971-1177 (cell).




The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, is one of the largest community foundations in the nation, with net assets of more than $1 billion. In 2017, the Foundation and its donors paid $130 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and received gifts of more than $194 million. The Foundation is a close partner in philanthropy with its donors, with more than 1,000 separate charitable funds established either for the general benefit of the community or for special purposes. It also serves as a major civic leader, think tank and advocacy organization, commissioning research into the most critical issues of our time and helping to shape public policy designed to advance opportunity for everyone in Greater Boston. The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), a distinct operating unit of the Foundation, designs and implements customized philanthropic strategies for families, foundations and corporations around the globe. For more information about the Boston Foundation and TPI, visit or call 617-338-1700.