January 26, 2023

$405,000 Grant Will Help Students Enhance Communication Skills to Advance in Local Job Market.

Thanks to a federal grant provided with help from U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Manchester Community College (MCC) will expand its English Language Learners (ELL) program to help students succeed academically and assimilate into New Hampshire’s economy. With increased academic advising and tutoring opportunities, students can take their knowledge of various careers and use the communications skills needed to enter and advance into the local job market.

“This is a wonderful investment in workforce development for students who work tremendously hard and are dedicated to their education, but who face the challenge of a temporary language barrier,” explains Glenn Fearnley, the ELL advisor for Manchester Community College. “We find when we can help provide support for this communication barrier through enhanced English skills, our students see their hard work reflected in their academic success and can move into the workforce to contribute to our local economy.”

This is a federal grant with a specific goal. The $405,000 dollar grant to MCC is part of a five-year project to establish Southern New Hampshire as the global epicenter for the production and distribution of regenerative tissues and organs. The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) named the Southern NH BioFabrication Cluster as one of 21 American Rescue Plan “Build Back Better Regional Challenge” winners.

Working in partnership with SNHU, UNH-Manchester and the City of Manchester, MCC will support this effort, specifically through additional services for English Language Learner advising and workforce development. This grant has enabled MCC to extend Fearnley’s part-time position to full-time. MCC will also be able to expand summer bridge programs to reach more STEM and ELL students.

“We are honored to be at the intersection of employers who need quality workers and those students who have unique and strong skills, but simply need some help with improved English skills to successfully join the local workforce,” says Dr. Brian Bicknell, President of Manchester Community College. “We are proud to be a supportive and welcoming place for students of all backgrounds to come here, learn and achieve their life’s goals.”

This federal grant is part of a cluster of investments focusing on BioFabrication. The BioFabrication Cluster is one of 21 winners around the country – each a regional coalition of partnering entities – that will receive awards between $25 million and $65 million to implement an average of six projects that together will enable each region’s economic transformation and competitiveness.

According to Senator Shaheen’s office, the Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) is an unprecedented competitive federal grant program that provides each regional coalition with significant investments to tackle a wide variety of projects – including entrepreneurial support, workforce development, infrastructure, and innovation – to drive inclusive economic growth. Each coalition’s collection of projects aims to develop and strengthen regional industry clusters – all while embracing economic equity, creating good-paying jobs, and enhancing U.S. competitiveness globally.