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Posted on April 25, 2022
Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology (BFCI) trains students in the skills most desperately needed by the Massachusetts economy – electrical engineering, health information technology, automotive management to name a few.
But more importantly, the 114-year-old college provides a conduit for economic opportunity to young people who might not otherwise have access to higher education. Many of BFCI’s 400 students are from low-income households; fifty-seven percent are first-generation college students; 99 percent receive financial aid; and 74 percent are people of color.
Those numbers were part of what prompted philanthropists Bill and Joyce Cummings to announce in February a transformative $12.5 million commitment to the institute that now bears their names.
It’s also the reason that Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) has decided to honor BFCI with the 2022 John Gould Education and Workforce Training Award. The association will present the award virtually during the 2022 AIM Annual Meeting on May 6 at 9 am.
“Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute has a mission that seamlessly combines educational equity, workforce development, and inclusive economic growth in Boston and beyond” said John R. Regan, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIM.
“The Institute is equipping young people with skills in advanced manufacturing, construction management, automotive technology, computer information technology and other areas that will fuel the economic growth of Massachusetts in the years to come.”
Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute is an urban, private, non-profit college serving the Boston region and committed to student success and career readiness in technology fields. Through personalized support, hands-on learning, and industry-informed curricula, BFCI prepares graduates for work, life-long learning, and citizenship.
The college traces its roots to colonial printer and statesman Benjamin Franklin, who left money in his will to the residents of Boston, and to industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who in 1904 matched the money in the Franklin Fund. The school has since intersected with some of the major milestones of American industrial history – for example, soon after Henry Ford introduced the Model T, the Benjamin Franklin course in Gas and Gasoline Engines became so popular that the college had to establish a waiting list and people lined up around the corner of Berkeley Street and onto Tremont in order to get on the list.
Now, BFCI is preparing to move into a new campus at Nubian Square in 2024.
“The past two years have highlighted the connection between education and equity; our programs focusing on both traditional and evolving technical careers—particularly in fields like clean-tech, life sciences, robotics, and beyond—create a lifelong path to economic opportunity,” said Dr. Aisha Francis, president of the Institute.
“Cummings Foundation’s commitment to this work is a vote of confidence in our faculty and staff, our programs, and our focus on the future needs of an evolving technical field. This gift is an important step in creating flexibility and capacity for us to execute against our strategic vision.”
Bill Cummings says the Institute collaborates with the business community to ensure its training programs meet the needs of employers.
“Further stabilizing and growing the college’s one-of-a-kind model is both critical to the regional economy and to advancing economic inclusion. The college has a long track record of helping graduates obtain great jobs and earn more. Its current leadership is laser-focused on adapting to meet changing workforce needs in areas such as technology and construction. As such, we were urgently compelled to support this work,” Mr. Cummings said.
“Our hope is that others will join us by making significant investments in this institution and others like it whose work is so critical to the growth and well-being of the city of Boston.”
Eighty-three percent of BFCI students find full-time jobs in their field of choice. The annual median salary of graduates one year after graduation is $42,000.
Past recipients of the Gould Award include the late Jack Rennie, Chairman and Founder of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education; Middlesex Community College; Gordon Lankton, President and CEO (retired), NYPRO Inc.; William Edgerly, Chairman Emeritus, State Street Corporation; Northeastern University; The Davis Family Foundation; Intel Massachusetts; EMC Corporation; IBM; David Driscoll Commissioner (Retired) Massachusetts Department of Education; State Street Corporation and Year UP Boston; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership; Brockton High School; the Manufacturing Advancement Center – MACWIC Program; Christo Rey Boston High School; CVS and Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission; Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership, SnapChef, The Base and Pioneer Valley Books.