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Sole Scholars: NECC Launches First Footwear Manufacturing Degree in New England

Submitted by on April 1, 2024 – 8:17 am
PHOTO: NECC's entry in the 2014 "Soles of Haverhill" shoe sculpture event

NECC’s entry in the 2014 “Soles of Haverhill” shoe sculpture event

Northern Essex Community College is proud to kick-off a unique addition to our academic offerings in a nod to the manufacturing roots of Lawrence and of Haverhill (aka Shoe City) – an associate degree in footwear manufacturing. This innovative program is the first of its kind in New England, designed to blend traditional craftsmanship with the latest in footwear technology and sustainable practices.

Launching next semester, this program will equip passionate individuals with the skills and knowledge required to excel in the ever-evolving world of fashion shoe design and manufacturing, with an add-on lab for would-be cobblers.

Developed in partnership with the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, NECC is honored to celebrate the history of cobbling and textiles in our home communities of Haverhill and Lawrence.

“This is a wonderful step forward for manufacturing in the Merrimack Valley,” says Alex Eberhardt, President and CEO of the Greater Haverhill Chamber.

“We’re excited to walk alongside NECC to flip this program to our members in the fashion and retail sectors.”

“We’re pumped that this new program pairs perfectly with NECC’s program offering stipends to students working in unpaid or underpaid internships,” adds Allison Dolan-Wilson, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at NECC.

“This new program really gives the college a strong foothold within the local manufacturing economy.”

NECC History Professor Rich Padova will host a kick-off event walking through both cities’ contributions to shoe manufacturing. He’ll also give a boot camp on the origins of April Fool’s Day. April Fool’s Day everyone! To learn more about the amazingly shoe-perb and real programs that NECC offers, please visit