WASHINGTON D.C. (WWLP) – Holyoke Community College President Christina Royal presented the 2022 National Education Service Award to Congressman Richard Neal in Washington D.C. earlier this week.

Congressman Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, was awarded the 2022 National Education Service Award at the Community College National Legislative Summit in Washington D.C. Christina Royal, president of Holyoke Community College, introduced Congressman Neal and presented the award to him on behalf of the Association of Community College Trustees and the American Association of Community Colleges.

Royal said, “As chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Neal has worked tirelessly to fix the tax code in a way that would benefit community college students and support workforce training programs,”

Congressman Richard Neal, an alumni of Holyoke Community College, said, “The community college system in America plays a critical role in preparing individuals for the workforce. I have been a longtime supporter of our community colleges because they are successful. They provide technical career training, serve as a stepping stone, and welcome individuals looking to retrain or refresh their skillset.” 

The National Education Service Award is awarded to a national leader who makes massive contributions to national polices and resources that support the education, training and higher education.

“Western and central Massachusetts is lucky to have many of these types of educational options right outside their doors and at their fingertips,” Neal said. “I am thankful for this recognition, and I am committed to continuing to provide for the community college system so that all students have a path to higher education.” 

Congressman Neal was a key piece to the Tax-Free Pell Grant Act. This grant exempts students from being taxed on their Pell award that goes over tuition costs. Along with playing a part in the grant, he also helped secure $1.2 billion for funding the potential successor to the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training Grants.

After a weeklong summit in D.C., President Royal said, “It was an honor to present Congressman Neal with this award. He has long been an advocate for progressive programs and federal funding for community colleges and our students, particularly in the area of workforce training. He recognizes that investments in our community colleges support regional growth, job creation, and economic mobility for individuals and families. I know this was a proud moment for him as it also was for me and should be for all the communities in Massachusetts that he represents.”