HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Adults seeking to earn a high school equivalency diploma or non-English speakers looking to improve their English language skills can find more classes through Holyoke Community College (HCC).

HCC has been awarded $1.273 million from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to expand adult education programs in Holyoke and other communities in Hampden County.

The money will be used for programming at HCC’s Adult Learning Center in Holyoke and HCC’s Ludlow Area Adult Learning Center, as well as classes offered through the college’s partners in the Juntos Collaborative: The Care Center, the Community Education Project, the Holyoke Public Schools Opportunity Academy, and MassHire Holyoke.

The expansion includes adding ESOL seats in West Springfield, in partnership with the West Springfield Public Library, and Holyoke, in addition to continuing remote and in-person classes in Ludlow, in partnership with Hubbard Memorial Library. Additionally, funds will go toward high school equivalency through adult basic education services.

Juntos means ‘together’ in Spanish. Overall, the HCC/Juntos Collaborative received a 14 percent increase in funding over current levels, and will serve 8 percent more students,” said Pesha Black, director of HCC’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs, which is part of the college’s department of Adult Education and Workforce Development. “The expansion is primarily in ESOL services, and is based on strong past performance as well as community need. Immigrants, refugees, and other multilingual learners are a tremendous asset to our region, and we’re excited to provide increased access to services to help these communities achieve their education, career, and civic engagement goals.”

The grants are part of a five-year, $250 million allocation to 74 institutions announced last month by the outgoing Baker administration.  

The Office of Adult and Community Learning Services within the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education administers the state’s no-cost public adult education system through community adult learning centers and correctional institutions across 16 local workforce development areas statewide.