Bunker Hill Community College Awarded $100,000 for C-Town Business Pathways Program

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) received a $100,000 grant from Cummings Foundation’s $100K for 100 program in support of the C-Town Business Pathways program.

A pilot program for students at Charlestown High School, the C-Town Business Pathways Program is a collaboration between BHCC, BUILD, Charlestown High and the Boston Private Industry Council. The program provides high school students the opportunity to earn up to 30 college credits–at no cost to the student–toward an associate degree in business.

Through this partnership, Charlestown students enroll in a four-year business pathway program, while also earning college credit as early as the 10th grade. Along with college credits, C-Town Business students participate in experiential learning activities such as job-shadowing and internships and benefit from additional mentoring, advising and tutoring. The students graduate high school with the opportunity to immediately enter the workforce, complete their associate degree at BHCC or major in business at a four-year college or university.

The Cummings Foundation grant supports the 9th and 10th grade components, focused on the BUILD entrepreneurship training program, which is paired with the BHCC Business curriculum. Through BUILD, students learn all the basics of entrepreneurship and launch real, licensed businesses by the end of ninth grade. Launched in 1999–with the Greater Boston branch opening its doors in 2011–BUILD has a strong partnership with Boston Public Schools, which provides space for mentoring sessions and its entrepreneurship course. In addition to Charlestown High, partner schools include Another Course to College, Community Academy of Science and Health (CASH), Jeremiah E. Burke High School, Dearborn STEM Academy and Madison Park Regional Vocational High School.

The methods of BUILD’s programming are proven by the success of its graduates. Ninety-seven percent of BUILD students complete high school on time and are accepted to college. The majority of those acceptances are to four-year programs. Locally, BUILD Boston alumni attend Bentley University, Bryn Mawr College, Howard University, University of New Hampshire, Suffolk University and many more. “Unlike most other college access programs, we’re reaching out to the students who are most at risk of failing or dropping out right here in our own community of Charlestown,” said BHCC President Pam Eddinger. “BUILD students develop their own business ideas, write business plans, pitch to funders and launch their own licensed businesses. It’s this real-world experience that makes school relevant and motivates students to succeed.”

In line with BUILD’s mission to target low-income students attending under-resourced schools, the C-Town Business Pathways Program is designed to address key reasons why many students struggle in their transition to post-secondary education, such as tuition costs,  not having a clear pathway to a degree and not being prepared for college level course work.

The $100k for 100 program supports nonprofits that are not only based in but also primarily serve Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties. This year, the program is benefiting 35 different cities and towns within the Commonwealth.

Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed at no cost to the Foundation by its affiliate Cummings Properties. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings of Winchester, the Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages more than 10 million square feet of space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

BHCC was one of 100 organizations chosen from a total of 549 applicants, during a competitive review process. Grant recipients represent a wide variety of causes, including homelessness prevention and affordable housing, education, violence prevention and food insecurity. The complete list of winners is available at CummingsFoundation.org.

Bunker Hill Community College is the largest community college in Massachusetts. The College enrolls more than 14,000 students on two campuses and at three satellite locations. BHCC is one of the most diverse institutions of higher education in Massachusetts. Sixty-four percent of the students are people of color and more than half of BHCC's students are women. The College also enrolls nearly 1000 international students who come from 107 countries and speak more than 75 languages.

BUILD uses entrepreneurship to ignite the potential of youth in underserved communities and equip them for high school, college, and career success. By the end of freshman year, all BUILD students launch real businesses. This entrepreneurial experience equips students with 21st Century Skills aligned with college and career success. BUILD serves 2,500 students nationally, including 400 students in Boston.

Media Contact:
Karen M. Norton, Executive Director of Integrated Marketing and Communications
Bunker Hill Community College, Boston, MA 02129
Phone: (617) 228-2177; Email: kmnorton@bhcc.mass.edu