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NECC Wins 2021 Patrick Prize for Community Colleges for the Lawrence Partnership

Submitted by on December 16, 2021 – 3:45 pm

Left to right: Jessy Melo, Jessy’s Clean Meals; George Ramirez, Lawrence Partnership; Theresa Parks, MassDevelopment; Lane Glenn, NECC; Wendy Estrella, Lawrence Partnership; Mike Kennealy, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development; Mayor Kendrys Vasquez, Lawrence; Senator Barry Finegold; Representative Marcos Devers; Danny Torres, El Encanto; Hilton Torres, El Encanto.

Lawrence, MA (December 16, 2021) – The Boston Foundation today announced that Northern Essex Community College (NECC) has been selected as the recipient of the 7th Annual Deval Patrick Prize for Community Colleges. NECC was awarded the $50,000 prize in recognition of the Lawrence Partnership, a collaboration of business and civic leaders anchored at the college and committed to building a local economy that benefits all people in Lawrence by helping to grow businesses.

The collaboration includes college staff, business leaders, elected officials, government agencies, and local workforce development and education partners in an effort to strengthen and revitalize the business and social fabric of the city of Lawrence.

“The Partnership is remarkable in its scope and reach, extending far beyond the NECC campus to have a major impact throughout the city of Lawrence,” said Lee Pelton, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “The Partnership has been able to leverage both the college’s location and its established place as an anchor institution in the community to help build a more resilient, inclusive and equitable local economy during a time of unprecedented challenge. Congratulations on this well-deserved award.”

“Over the past seven years, the Lawrence Partnership, incubated at Northern Essex Community College, has been able to establish numerous programs to support small businesses and entrepreneurs, provide job training, and help the city navigate the Columbia Gas disaster and two years of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lane Glenn, President of Northern Essex Community College. “In doing so, we have been able to bring together a remarkable set of partners and are redefining the perception of the city of Lawrence. We are truly thankful for this award and the recognition it provides.”

The launch of the Lawrence Partnership was in November of 2014 at an event at the Everett Mills.

In addition to the $50,000 prize for Northern Essex, the Patrick Prize committee also decided, for the first time ever, to award a runner-up prize of $15,000 to Bunker Hill Community College’s ‘Learn and Earn’ program, which provides internships for a wide variety of Bunker Hill students at local organizations and businesses. In recent years, BHCC has redesigned and expanded Learn and Earn to ensure that the program met the needs of students with a range of interests and needs. The college also worked with local employers to ensure equitable opportunities and experiences for students and improve recruitment.

Created in 2014, the Deval Patrick Prize for Community Colleges recognizes the important role community colleges play in preparing their students for successful careers and meeting regional hiring needs, in partnership with employers. The purpose of this year’s Patrick Prize competition was to recognize particularly effective and/or innovative local partnerships that meet regional economic needs through broader system-building approaches.

Northern Essex also received the Deval Patrick Prize for Community Colleges in 2019  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.

This year’s prize competition was judged by an eight-person selection panel of local leaders and experts in workforce development from across Massachusetts.

To learn more about NECC’s involvement with the Lawrence Partnership, visit President Glenn’s recent post in his Running the Campus blog.

Northern Essex Community College has campuses in both Haverhill and Lawrence. It offers approximately 60 associate degree and certificate programs as well as hundreds of noncredit courses designed for personal enrichment and career growth.  Each year, 6,000 students are enrolled in credit associate degree and certificate programs on the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses; and another 2,000 take noncredit workforce development and community education classes on campus, and at businesses and community sites across the Merrimack Valley.  For more information, visit the website at or call 978-556-3700.

The Boston Foundation, Greater Boston’s community foundation, brings people and resources together to solve Boston’s big problems. Established in 1915, it is one of the largest community foundations in the nation—with net assets of $1.7 billion. In 2020, the Foundation and its donors paid $215 million in grants to nonprofit organizations. The Foundation works in close partnership with its donors, with more than 1,000 separate charitable funds established 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 consulting unit of the Foundation, designs and implements customized philanthropic