July 16, 2010
MIRAMICHI (CNB) - The provincial government is taking two major steps to strengthen higher education on the Miramichi. Premier Shawn Graham made the announcement today.
The government is investing in the construction of a multi-purpose wing at the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC), Miramichi campus. Several programs in the skilled trades will be delivered there. It has also reached an agreement with St. Thomas University (STU) to expand its presence on the Miramichi in collaboration with the NBCC campus.
"This is an exciting announcement for the people of the Miramichi region," said Graham. "This partnership will provide new opportunities for young people to stay and work on the Miramichi. Our government is proud to be a part of an initiative that will bring more university programs to the Miramichi and will see a new state-of-the-art trades facility built at NBCC, Miramichi."
The government is investing $9 million in the construction of a new 2,052-sq.-m (22,800-sq.-ft.) multi-purpose wing that will accommodate various trades programs. They will initially include carpentry, industrial mechanics, plumbing and other construction trades. In addition, renovations will be made to the cafeteria, library and common student areas to improve shared services and resources between the NBCC campus and the university.
"We are very pleased to receive funding for the expansion of our Miramichi campus," said Bill Best, interim president and chief executive officer, NBCC Corporation. "This investment in our infrastructure will allow us to continue to offer relevant, responsive programming to meet the needs of industry while maintaining our focus on student success. Partnerships such as this one with St. Thomas University are very valuable to the New Brunswick Community College as a new Crown corporation."
In addition, the government is providing $1 million over four years through an agreement with STU to cover ongoing expenses as the university strengthens its presence in Miramichi.
"St. Thomas University has a good working model of collaboration with the community colleges, and we are now looking forward to working with our partners in the greater Miramichi community to increase the accessibility of post-secondary education to New Brunswickers," said Dennis Cochrane, interim president and vice-chancellor, STU.
Cochrane said the university will target its programming in Miramichi to adult learners, Aboriginal learners and local students who can benefit from the first-year Study at Home Program.
He said STU, as part of this initiative, will improve courses already offered in Miramichi and define the need for development in the region. Two promising areas for improvements, he said, are criminology and gerontology.
"The funding of these initiatives demonstrates that our government recognizes the importance of investing in future generations now," said Graham. "This project has been publicly supported by the local member of Parliament, and it is our hope that the federal government will become a financial partner in this worthwhile project."
The announcement is in line with the government's plan, Be Inspired. Be Ready. Be Better. The action plan to transform post-secondary education in New Brunswick.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Lori-Jean Wallace, communications, Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, 506-476-0542; Sonya Gilks, communications, New Brunswick Community College, 506-461-5627.