Investment in Co-Lin will pay off

Published 11:04 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Natchez and Adams county citizens, you are being offered a wonderful opportunity to enhance the growth and economic future of our area. Copiah-Lincoln Community College is an educational institution that has served our community for almost four decades, preparing hundreds of our children and grandchildren for new and exciting careers.

Now, the college that has given us so much is asking for a little help, and the chance to enrich and support our community further through the opening of a new health sciences center.

As many of you know, the health care industry is booming. Nurses, respiratory therapists, health care and physical and occupational therapy assistants, radiology technicians, and other trained medical personnel are all in high and growing demand. The nurse shortage is also a concern, and the need for nurses is projected to be greater than the employment need in any other occupation over the next 10 years (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Every year nursing programs turn away dozens of qualified applicants because of a lack of space.

Email newsletter signup

With a small investment of your tax dollars, Co-Lin could provide our community with more nurses and supportive health care personnel who would come from our own community and be able to give back. A new health care sciences center would keep citizens from leaving Natchez and Adams County to find education and jobs, and would also bring in new people who would live and study here, and enrich our economy. In addition, the new building would free up room in the Career and Technical Education Center for a new building trades program, which would provide skilled craftsmen who would be able to assist in the construction of new businesses and housing.

Spending by students who stay in the area to attend the programs offered, and the new students attracted by the college would encourage new businesses to come to our area. And having a supply of trained and qualified workers would be appealing to new industries looking to locate here. Co-Lin graduates will have higher incomes than those without a college degree and will contribute more tax dollars to our economy and require less financial assistance from government programs.

Economic impact studies conducted by other communities have found that a small college like Co-Lin gives a $3 to $4 return on every tax dollar spent, and the return is compounded in following years and decades. We can take of advantage of this and give our young people a place to receive a quality education in their chosen field right here at home.

As a graduate of Co-Lin and a nurse myself I can speak for the excellent learning environment that Co-Lin provides as well as the need for more health care workers. Please encourage our elected officials to support funding of this project. The long-term benefits for our community will be well worth the short-term investment.

Danielle Saxon of Adams County is a Co-Lin graduate and an inductee in the Co-Lin Natchez Hall of Fame.