A great day for N.B.

Education NBCC to get new building on its own campus and one at UNBSJ

SAINT JOHN - The $44-million that the province is investing in the city's community college campus - adding 600 seats - isn't a one-time, fly-by-night investment, Donald Arseneault said   Tuesday.     


Post-secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault says 92 per cent of last year's college graduates are working.

"This is a starter," the province's minister of post-secondary education, training and labour told a news conference.

"We'll continue to add on when needed. It's strategic and long-term."

The cash will be used to add a new 9,000-square-metre building to the main college campus on Grandview Avenue to house training programs related to energy and construction.

A second, 2,250-square-metre building will be built on the UNBSJ campus for the college's health-related programs including medical laboratory technology, respiratory therapy, pharmacy technology and licensed practical nursing.

Shovels are to be in the ground by fall, which means that program decisions must be made by next month so architects can get to work and the new seats available for students beginning college in September 2011, college principal Annette Albert said.

"We're huddling right now to try to make those decisions," she said.

The additional seats raise the campus's capacity to 1,800 seats, but with more than 3,000 students often on waiting lists each year, not everyone will be accommodated.

But campus said it's "an excellent start.

"It allows us to look at the more immediate needs," she said.

"We know we have programs where many students want in and we have had some limitations, but we're always very mindful not to flood markets with individuals so we have to try and balance the supply and demand."

Programs are constantly changing to meet workforce needs, she said.

"As we go on, the picture is going to change.

"We hope that down the road there will be other opportunities for us to get other investments to develop in some new areas that we're not even thinking about."

If the city is going to grow, for example, training programs will be required in areas other than energy, she said.

"It's a holistic approach to developing a community to support the economy that we need to be there for."

The $44-million influx will allow the college to concentrate on training workers for the energy hub, for jobs in areas such as construction and engineering.

"We're looking at expanding programs that would support the construction and ongoing maintenance of projects," Albert said.

"We have no final list yet because we're still studying it."

Ninety-two per cent of last year's college graduates are working and 90 per cent of them are employed in the province, Arseneault said.

"We're building an energy hub and we want our people to work here," he said.

"The Benefits Blueprint identified the need. When you have a clear plan, that's how you get $44 million."

The Benefits Blueprint is a community plan designed to capture the potential economic growth involved with the anticipated energy boom. 


A great day for N.B.


Energy Minister Jack Keir explains how investments in post-secondary education will boost development of New Brunswick's Energy Hub.

I would like to applaud my colleague Donald Arseneault on this terrific investment.

Today is a great day for our New Brunswick Community College System - our students, current and future, and for our educators. And of course a great day for Saint John.

But ladies and gentlemen, today is also a great day for our New Brunswick energy hub and our province's goals for the future.

The training being developed by our educators at this college, and the skills being learned by our students here, are critical to the development of the energy hub.

In order for mega-energy projects in the province to take flight, we need a skilled work force, equipped in the areas of graphic design, manufacturing, contracting, construction... you name the trade, and we need it.

Our young people are critical to the growth and sustainability of the energy hub.

The students coming out of the programs at NBCC-Saint John will play a very important role in our province's growth. To all the educators here today - you can quote me on that, and take THAT message back to the classroom.

I have the opportunity to speak with leaders in the energy industry on a very regular basis.

The message repeated over and over again clear - they need more New Brunswick talent working on their projects. They know what our young people are capable of. And they want to hire New Brunswick talent.

Folks, the opportunities for the students educated at this campus are endless in the energy sector worldwide. That is why I am so excited by this announcement today.

It is our hope that the students trained at the NBCC-Saint John campus will stay in Saint John - will live and work and contribute to our growing province.

We see a New Brunswick where our graduates thrive and excel while living in our communities and supporting our collective goal of achieving self-sufficiency.

Today's investment in NBCC-Saint John, which includes the creation a centre of excellence in energy, is a clear demonstration of this government's commitment to growing the energy hub and growing our province.

It is also an example of the province's clear commitment to the Benefits Blueprint report and many of the initiatives outlined in it.

Workforce development is a key component in planning for the growth to come in our province as a result of the development of the energy sector.

In fact, the investments announced today by Donald match key recommendations in the Benefits Blueprint report, namely the Skills Centre of Excellence and the Construction Skills Training Program.

The report identified enhancements to our community college system as paramount if we are going to reach the full potential of mega projects proposed for New Brunswick.

The investment of $44.4 million in new dollars for the NBCC campus in Saint John is a huge leap forward in creating an accessible and skilled workforce for our province's energy projects.

Many of us here today participated in the Energy Camp held in Saint John this past December. What we are witnessing here builds on our focused commitment to work together to meet the workforce demands of our province.

There is a lot that needs to be done to grow our N.B. workforce, but I truly believe that it is through working together that we will reach our goal.

Thank you again, Donald, for your vision and commitment to our students, our educators and indeed our province. And for your support of our New Brunswick energy hub, and our Saint John community.

And to all the students out there, my door is always open.

Together, we will see our New Brunswick Energy Hub flourish.

Energy Minister Jack Keir represents the riding of Fundy-River Valley.

Published Wednesday January 21st, 2009 Telegraph Journal