Press Release

Bunker Hill Community College Receives funding from City of Somerville for ESOL Workforce Project

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) has been awarded $250,000 from the City of Somerville’s Job Creation and Retention Trust Board. The grant project, entitled SELL –Somerville English Language Learners – is shared with employer partner East Somerville Main Streets(ESMS), the Community Action Agency of Somerville(CAAS), and The Welcome Project (TWP). The funds will provide no-cost English as a Second Language classes and customer service training to low-income Somerville residents between September 2020 and June 2021.

The SELL project is one of several ELL programs offered by the Division of Workforce and Economic Development. Through The Language Institute, BHCC provides different language courses for different needs including full-time, 20-hour Intensive English courses designed to help international students acquire the language skills necessary to go on to full-time college study. The Institute also offers flexible and convenient Basic English as a Second Language (BESL) instructional programs that assist working students in learning English and preparing for college. To learn more, visit

“We are grateful to receive this funding to help address the growing demand for ESOL courses for Somerville residents," said Kristen McKenna, BHCC Dean of Workforce and Economic Development. "Through this program, students will have the opportunity to learn customer service skills appropriate for emerging small businesses in Somerville while strengthening their English skills and knowledge of the American workplace. Our partnership with three Somerville community services agencies and employers for this initiative will ensure that we connect with community members, especially those who are vulnerable after the impact of COVID-19."

Classes begin in September.  For more information or to apply to the program, please visit

Partners for this Project

East Somerville Main Streets
East Somerville Main Streets is part of a nationwide movement of nearly 1,400 Main Street Organizations nationwide that work to build thriving local economies and centers of community. Since 2009, ESMS has been focused on supporting the local small business community. Today, ESMS completes between 10-12 direct technical assistance projects per year for microenterprises; these are businesses with five or fewer employees whose owners are from low-to-moderate income households.  

The Community Action Agency of Somerville
The Community Action Agency of Somerville’s mission is to help local families and individuals achieve financial security while working to eliminate the root causes of economic injustice; it has been the federally designated anti-poverty agency serving Somerville since 1981 and has assisted low-income residents of the City for 39 years. It operates three primary programs: Head Start; the Housing Advocacy Program; and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.  

The Welcome Project
The Welcome Project is the City’s premier immigrant-serving organization. For nearly three decades it has built the collective power of immigrants and lower-income residents by cultivating leadership skills and civic engagement. TWP offers programming to help people learn English, hone leadership skills, and increase access to employment and education.

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About Bunker Hill Community College
With more than 50 years of academic excellence, Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) is Massachusetts' largest community college, annually welcoming a diverse community of around 16,000 students. With campuses in Charlestown and Chelsea, BHCC extends its reach across several locations in Greater Boston. The College offers associate degrees and certificates, early college and dual enrollment, community education, corporate training, and industry-specific training programs. BHCC is celebrated for its diversity, boasting a student body where 65% identify as people of color and more than half are women. The College also embraces a global perspective, with over 600 international students representing 90 countries and conversing in more than 65 languages. Our commitment to diversity is further reflected in BHCC's designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI).