On Campus

Bricks and mortarboards: Institutions seek share of stimulus

Despite promise of new jobs, community colleges say they're being ignored

The Association of Canadian Community Colleges, the representative body of community colleges and institutes, is in the news looking to be included in any federal government plan to stimulate the sluggish economy:

Community colleges across the country say they are being left out of the federal government’s infrastructure plan, even though they’ve got enough projects to create about 50,000 construction jobs.

Jim Knight, president of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, said the institutions urgently need new classroom space to cope with rising enrolment rates that could grow even faster in the coming months as thousands of laid-off workers seek training for new jobs and skills.

The association, which represents about 150 colleges across the country, estimates that new investments would create jobs right away in the construction of long-awaited expansion projects.

Good idea, but not a new one. In December, post-secondary institutions South of the 49th parallel appealed to the U.S. Congress for 5 percent of any economic stimulus package — about $40 to $50 billion — for construction and renovation of classroom and research facilities. Closer to home, the New Brunswick government recently announced its plans for a $160 million multi-year investment in college and university infrastructure.

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