Northern Essex Community College wins 2021 Patrick Prize for Community Colleges for the Lawrence Partnership

Bunker Hill Community College receives runner-up award in recognition of Learn and Earn program

December 16, 2021

Boston –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.

Patrick Award for Community Colleges

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.”

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.  

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