|Welcome to the third edition of the Imagine2030 article series. This week, our focus is on understanding education-related assets, and how they impact our community. |
Three major educational institutions are located within the Town; Tamarac Education Centre, Strait Area Education and Recreation Centre, and the Nova Scotia Community College Strait Area Campus. They represent a significant educational presence in our community. In addition to the more than 1000 students who attend public school (grades Primary-12), our Town is also home to over 700 Community College students.
Grades Primary to Twelve students tend to establish a strong connection to Port Hawkesbury – they learn here, they play here. Looking beyond traditional education boundaries to extra-curricular programs, recreation programs, and volunteer opportunities – how do we ensure that these opportunities meet the needs of our young people in developing “good citizenship” skills?
Port Hawkesbury is fortunate to be home to the Nova Scotia Community College Strait Area Campus – an innovative post-secondary institution that increases the population of our Town significantly during the school year. The Strait Area Campus has over 700 full time, and about 300 part time students enrolled for this school year. A large number of these students originate from outside the Strait Area, which means that many make a new home for themselves here in our Town (or the immediate surrounding areas) from September to June each year. These students are attracted by a unique blend of ‘destination’ programming in fields as diverse as Power Engineering, Behavioural Intervention, and of course Marine Programming.
Consider the economic and social impact of having over 700 students diverge on a community of just 3,517 people for 9 months of the year. When we do the math, if the average student spent about $1,200 per month on expenses, it would lead to about $7.5million in annual spending. Although this is a loose estimate, it certainly makes the point that spending by our post-secondary student population in the span of a single year makes a significant contribution to our economy. From a social stand-point, are these students welcomed and encouraged to participate in our volunteer and recreation activities – do we enable them to become part of the fabric of our community?
Overall, the Town of Port Hawkesbury has a well educated population, on par with or exceeding provincial averages. Approximately 20% of our population over age 15 has a high school diploma or equivalent and an additional 55% have completed post-secondary education. This is a strong indicator of the value that Port Hawkesbury residents place on education.
Our educational assets are strong – our community has the skills and infrastructure to make education, and the business of education, a continuing priority in our growth plans for the Town. Let us know what you think. Bring your ideas forward. Let’s get started Growing our Town, Together!