Springfield, IL

Economic Benefit



1,000 JOBS 








New Century Retirement Living 

Tom Berkshire, President 

August 2014




Executive Summary

There is a coming crises in small colleges and universities in rural America. Many of these schools are facing challenges in form of: enrollment decline, decreased endowment giving, higher education inflation, academic competition, and the rapid growth of online courses from prestigious schools. For many their future is uncertain. The small college in a rural community may well be the largest employer and its closure would have a devastating impact. We believe that in this decade, the number of small rural colleges and universities facing closing or transformation is increasing. The coming decade, closures of small colleges in rural America may become a “new reality.” In this paper we look at one option that not only would preserve local economies but would also increase local employment.


Counterpoised to this change in rural America is the growing number of retirees. As this population represents a huge new market , we are now entering a space in time when many businesses will look to monetizing of goods and services specifically oriented for this older population. Many predict that with the growth of the numbers of retired Boomers will come new types of goods and services specifically designed and marketed for retirees. It has been documented that the so called Baby Boomers are retiring at a long term sustaining rate of 10,000 a day. As a population cohort, they are the best educated, healthiest, richest seniors in history. Surveys indicate that about 30% of retirees have a retirement agenda that includes moving to a new house. If we look over the past twenty years or so settings like, gated communities, villages of seniors, retirement communities with life long health care and several other types of senior living have been developed. We can expect that new kinds are on the way! As the “new” retirees explore their lifestyle options, new types of communities are emerging throughout the country. Life long learning sites will be only one of many types of sites. Small colleges in rural areas might prove to be a terrific setting for a new type of senior community as well as solving a regional economic problem.


This proposal describes in detail a “college for seniors” retirement community with the school complex as a focal point surrounded by a diverse retirement community. The college itself, would be a unique non-degree college with a retiree oriented curriculum. The campus and surroundings would be completely designed or redesigned to meet the desires and needs of retirees. Consistent with modern retiree communities, the new community would be energy green, and use architectural “universal” designed buildings as well as using electronically “smart” principles.


In addition to the Baby Boomer phenomenon, the paradigm grows out of two other trend lines. First, there has been an expansion through external grants of life-long learning at hundreds of colleges and universities. Foundation grants and matching activity have helped to bring these programs to over 200 schools. Seniors take courses of interest, travel in groups for educational adventures and generally continue a life long self directed learning program. Secondly, approximately 60 universities have branched into building and/or associating with retirement communities. These life long learning communities are close to or on the grounds of the campus. In these environments, retirees are encouraged to take an active role in coursework, attend sports events, and cultural events.



In many sites, employment within the retirement community provides full and part time employment for the students. Many of these sites operate on the principles of continuous care.


Residents are provided access to assisted living, skilled nursing care and dementia care services as well as on campus clinics and rehabilitation services. The mission of these communities is that the resident will have a full range of services so they can live and learn in one community for the rest of their lives.


This presentation asks the question : What would be the economic impact of transforming a small rural college into a retirement community and a college designed for seniors? To address this, an analysis of a model retirement community 1,607 residents with 1,500 visiting seniors provides a glimpse at the potential economic effects. As a transformed college the major change is in a diverse set of employment opportunities. In addition to the employment related to the operations of the school and community, a four year construction phase will also provide a significant number of new employment. We want to review the expectation of both direct employment -on site and indirect employment (supporting employment and induced employment for example spending in the community and the region). Using accepted analytical approaches, the analysis indicates that there would be 896 new direct and 942 indirect new jobs for the construction phase (1,838 jobs total over a 4/5 year period). When completed, the new retirement community would employ 1,400 (full and part time people) at the college and the community and 1,300 indirect employment in the region.


What is less clear is the actual impact on employment at the college. The concept of changing to a new form of higher education would, by our estimate result in the loss of 25 percent of the current staff of a college of about 1,000 enrollees or about 150 full time equivalents. These reductions will occur in the academic arena as the college switches academic emphasis. (This estimate is based on data from IRS 990s from eight rural colleges of about 1,000 students each and with a average employment of 800 employees and an annual budget of $23 million and $90 million in land, buildings and equipment.)


The transformation of a college into a retirement community and college for retirees would be a major change in the college and the rural community. While a significant amount of the campus can be used for housing, there would still be a need for 25-50 acres of land for housing, community buildings and health facilities. We believe the net jobs increase could be one of the most significant, long lasting, positive, rural economic development projects in the United States. If the new community and transformation of the old campus forestalled the closing of a small rural college and resulted in a significant number of long and short term quality jobs rural community developers should take notice.


As in all new retirement communities, the first part of the new employment relates to the development and construction of the infrastructure and housing. Housing will include single homes, cottage/patio homes, condominiums as well as assisted living, nursing homes and health clinics. The community will be planned and developed as a “life care community.” That is, the a continuum of care and care facilities assure that the resident will be appropriately accommodated for their full life.


Community centers, a vital part of senior community, would be designed into the transformed campus. In addition, dormitories will be revamped to be suites for family, guests and hundreds of visiting senior students. Detailed information from other retirement communities helped create a baseline of information for our model. To meet the housing needs of this community 1.4 million square feet of housing will be constructed. In addition the “helping” components of the community will be 170,000 square feet.


The total cost of the housing and community center construction would be in the magnitude of $197 million and $31 million for the caring components of the community. To remodel the dormitories for 185 suites of about 1200 square feet using a figure of $50 a square foot for remodeling would cost about $13.5 million. The retirement community estimates combine national estimates of costs per square foot of different types of housing and health care facilities and the costs shown in public reporting of a dozen retirement communities. We have not developed an estimate for the remodeling of a specific campus. However construction to make the school more accessible, include more relaxation points and to electronically link to the housing. The estimate of construction employment for the campus would be adjusted for the specifics of a transforming college.


Transforming an existing college or university campus in a rural community to a new college for retirees and a surrounding retirement community will generate hundreds of new short term and long term quality jobs. The diversity of jobs will provide a rural community with a long term quality employment site. As described in detail in the paper, the challenges facing many small rural colleges provides a rare opportunity for rural economic growth.



Fiscal and Employment Impact of a College and Retirement Community



New Century Retirement Living is helping the higher education community develop a project that would transform an existing, at risk, small rural college into a new type of college. The proposed specific project provides new educational programming for a segment of the 80 million retiring Baby Boomers. A new college curriculum would designed for retirees based on their educational needs and their educational desires. The project would take advantage of the collegial atmosphere created by a mature campus as an environment for life long learning. A resident would become involved in learning at a pace that they desired and would have hundreds of friends and neighbors that had similar goals.


Enveloping the campus would be a new retirement community. The community would be like hundreds of other communities in the retirement industry, structured on the Life Care model ( a retirement community that guarantees lifetime housing, social activities and increased levels of care as needs change.) that provides health and wellness services so a resident never has to move because advancing frailty. However this community would be accessibly tied into a campus where the focus would be life long learning.


Currently there are no retiree colleges in the US. Not only would the campus and community be an exciting new community alternative for a large number of retirees, but it would also be a major employment generator for a community. In this note we estimate the economic impact of the transformation of a small rural college into a new “college” for retirees. In order to show the economic benefits, we have “built” a scenario that identifies a specific size of the community and the campus the impact of the construction and the impact of the site operations.


The scenario would be to convert an existing rural college -perhaps one that has long term declining enrollment and fiscal issues – to a college specifically for retirees. The campus would have modified dormitories for visiting part time retiree students and visiting families of people living in the community. Carefully planned into the college setting would be the retirement community. The blended remodeled infrastructure will be to provide structure for life long learning and to meet the living and health needs of aging residents. In developing the scenario we have followed the cost and operational details of existing, similarly sized retirement communities. We have used their employment data and their operational costs data. For the construction phase of the project we have used “accepted” formulas for direct and indirect employment impact. Remodeling the campus and understanding the details of the transformation are much more speculative. While we have made estimates they are our “best” guess.


Our vision is that we are focusing on rural colleges that are in financial or enrollment trouble. When a college starts down the slope of accreditation issues there are limited alternatives. In addition to closure, some schools have merged with another school, some have tried to re-brand themselves as a technical college. In the past decade, annually, three or four colleges -both urban and rural- go out of business. Forecasters foretell that for a number of reasons this number will rapidly accelerate. A rural college that shuts its doors has limited use for the building and grounds.


A college that goes out of business is left with a campus that has limited re-use. Perhaps a building here and building there, works for some part of the community but in total it becomes a drag on the image and employment for that community. The potential of moving the higher education community so they better serve the millions of better educated retirees should be a role the rural community can play.


The Scene


There are several thousands of small colleges (less than 3,000 enrollees) in the United States. The four year private non-profit small college is still a significant part of the higher education system. These schools are found in cities, suburbs, and rural towns in every state. For transformation, our interest is in one subset of these small colleges the “at risk” college located in a small rural town reasonably close to a metropolitan area. In these small rural towns, the college is likely the largest employer in the region and as such the college’s growth or decline is vital to that community and local region’s economic viability. Rural community development offices are very much aware that if, the “at risk” college closes it will be devastating to the community and the region.


There is mounting evidence of the poor fiscal and enrollment health of many of the small colleges in rural America. Multiple reasons are given for the current stresses such as: competing with larger schools is more difficult, MOOC schooling (electronic) is expanding at a very fast rate, endowments are not growing fast enough and the recent increase in inflation in higher education. These factors are making it hard for the small college to keep up in the total higher education system. In addition to these higher education factors, there are external demographic factors. Demographers note that during this decade the number of white and African American teens will be shrinking while the number of Asian and Latino teens will be increasing. The import of these shifts is that the major source of students for small colleges in rural areas may well be drying up. Small colleges are seeing the impact of the declining number of high school graduates enrolling. This is partly demographics and partly the perceived changing goals of the young high school graduate. We think that for many small rural colleges, the road ahead is going to be hard to follow.


Some specific examples that have appeared in the press:


  • The number of liberal arts colleges (the strictest of definitions) in the United States has dropped 39% since 1990, from 212 to 139, reports Michigan State University scholar Roger Baldwin. He points out that while financial woes have led to closures or mergers with larger institutions, many schools have simply transformed their missions into something less philosophical and more career-oriented. (World Future Society Volume 47 number I. )
  • Bain and Company with Sterling Partners, two management consulting firms made available a report noting that for the 1700 schools they examined, one third of these schools are not tracking on a long term financially sustainable track. When we examined the reported data, many of these “challenged” schools are small colleges.(July 6, 2012 Bain Brief) (http://www.thesustainableuniversity.com/ )


Given the crises, it is logical to think that strategies pursued by Boards of Trustees and small college presidents will no doubt result in closures, mergers and, transformations. Merging with another institution, improving management and becoming more like a business in its operations, increased marketing and moving away from liberal arts and/or transforming into a professional/technical school will be changing the landscape for the rural small school.




New Century Retirement Living has put forward an exciting alternative. Become the first college in the country to have as its primary students – retirees. Simply put, create a new curriculum just for retirees . Construct a purpose driven retirement community that offers the best place for life long learning. Market to the 80 million Baby Boomers a new type of retirement community using the emerging base – a small rural college.


It looks radical, but in reality it combines three retiree higher education trends into one dynamic project.


First, there are 50 universities in the United States that have built or are building a retirement community adjacent to the campus with campus privileges for the retirees. Almost all of these communities are “up-market” and many provide the continuous caring concept in their services and pricing. That is services are built and maintained so a person can move along a scale of dependency with appropriate housing and care choices as they become more frail. These universities market to alumni, retired professors and other upper middle class retirees. They then market to college graduates from the school and then to the general college graduate community. In addition to the 50 sites, we know that other sites are on the drawing board waiting for the housing recession to dissipate. The personal financial model often requires the retiree to sell their house before moving to the university affiliated housing. Thus growth depends on housing markets around the country.


The Second trend, the Bernard Osher Foundation in San Francisco, along with other foundations fund “Life Long Learning “ grants to universities and colleges. Currently Osher is partially funding over 120 different school’s retiree curriculum. These grants are often matched by the University and have been used as “seed” money to start an ongoing Life Long Learning campus based curricula and programs. With over one dozen years of experience funding courses for seniors, there is a rich background of courses and curricula to learn from. It is not hard to see how a retiree curricula could be developed that would be of great and continued interest to seniors.


The Third trend, perhaps most the most important. There are 10,000 people becoming retirees everyday. They, the so called Baby Boomers, have been described by many as the “richest, wealthiest, wisest, seniors in the history of the world.” Compared to previous generations, a greater percent these retirees have had college experience. We think that thousands of boomers had the best time in their lives at college in the 1960′s and 1970′s and think fondly of a college campus, the academic and social atmosphere. The question arises, why not modify a college and provide retiree housing so that life long learning can be enhanced? The base market appears to exist for a transformed college and a new community. The rush to monetize goods and services the millions of quality of life oriented Boomers has only just begun. Part of this is the novel new retirement housing options that will be emerging over the next decade. We believe that this is one of the new ideas.


Economic Benefits for a Small College Town -A hypothetical community


Because of the newness of the total concept, we decided that the creation of a hypothetical retirement community and college would be useful. This model community has been created as way of showing the size of a retirement community, its economic impact and the changes that might be made to a transforming college into the retirement college.


The model college can be described as part of a small college town within 75 miles of a metropolitan area. The financially and enrollment strapped campus was formerly accredited as a four year college for about 1,000 undergraduate students. Its board of trustees has decided rather than go out of business, the college will be transformed to reach a new market- life long learning retirees. Physically, like most small colleges, the campus is a mix of old traditional buildings and modern facilities. The campus and adjacent land is about 120 acres. The campus has a land and building value of $90 million as reported on their IRS 990. Before severe cuts in staff to ward off bankruptcy, the college had, as most campuses of its size, 800 employees and annual expenditures of about $23 million. Its endowment assets are now equivalent to less than six months of the operating budget.


Summary Table 1: Model College and Retirement Community

Summary Description of Development


Land Area: 100 acres plus core Campus (20 acres)


Retirement Community


Living Units 1,000

Assisted Living Units- 48

Skilled Nursing Beds ( 12-15 per pod) total 80


Asset Value: $145,800,000


Number of Senior Residents: 1,487

Neighborhood diversification lots 50 -residents 120


Total Residents 1,607


Household Composition


Married Couples : 43%

Single Female: 38%

Single Male: 12%

Non Retiree Families: 7%


Part 2 College Transformation


Dormitory Converted Rooms- 200-400



Building the “model”


In building the detail of the model community and retiree college the first important phase is the design and construction phase. We have estimated the local economic impact of this phase. This will help us understand the estimates of the economic and employment impact for the specific local and regional economy. In trying to avoid a “chamber of commerce” type estimate, we of borrowed tools that provide a reasonable set of data to understand the impact to the rural community. The analysis is a blend of fact based data and sage estimates that appear to be reasonably accurate.


After the discussion of the economic impact of the construction phase, we will look at the economic impact of the following:


The analysis is divided into five sections:


> construction costs of the retirement community and related employment

> remodeling of the campus-construction and related employment

> employment related to retirement community operations

> employment related to health care services available on site

> employment related to a college for retirees operation


As we will see, a new retirement community and transformed college will significantly increase the employment in a small town. The construction phase will begin the major financial inflow into the community. The operations of both the retirement community and the “new” college will then sustain that inflow over a long period of time.


Construction costs of the retirement community and the related employment



Our model for the new community and retiree college is for 1,607 new residents living in 1,060 new residences. With the exception of providing some diversity to the community by providing 60 units available to families of any age the majority of the community will be persons over the age of 50 years. There will be multiple types of housing with multiple floor plans available. The housing will be rentals, condominiums and purchase homes. There will be a wide range of housing types and sizes available. There will be a new community center for every 120-150 residences. Some of these centers will be re-purposed buildings on the campus. In addition there will be assisted living facilities, health and rehabilitation clinics, and a nursing home/dementia complex. Providing both rental and sales homes will create a better opportunity for a diverse community. The specific master plan for the community will be designed so that housing, community centers and healthcare is an integral part of the campus. In an effort to tie new retirement community and college together, land not used in a retirees college (for example sport fields, large parking lots and other redundant sites will be used as part of the land for the housing. The goal in design will be to assure that everything a retiree needs to live, learn and play will be in walking distance. Very local transportation, walkways, bike-ways and bus ways will be enhanced throughout the campus and integrated into the community. In addition to housing in the community, dormitory housing will be converted into suites that will meet the needs of non resident seniors on campus for courses of interest. The suites will also be available for family members visiting relatives that live in the retirement complex.


Estimating the Costs of Construction


The implementation plan calls for housing construction and assisted living construction to be phased in over a four year period. The additional housing will result in about 1.4 million square feet of new construction. The assisted living/nursing home construction will create 169,000 square feet of health care- living space. To make the employment estimates and assist in making an estimate for overall costs, nationally known and accepted Reed Construction data was used to estimate the cost of construction per square feet. We have estimated the apartment housing at $145 per square foot, the single family homes at $125 per square feet, the assisted living space at $200 and the Skilled Nursing pods at $150 per square feet. For the college community project these estimates will be 5% to 10% to high if the school owns building land. These estimates are also higher than need be, it there are available, appropriate sites on campus that can be used for clinics, community centers and other components.


Using the experience of marketable housing in other college based retirement communities, we are able to mimic and provide a detailed description of homes and apartments and the typical square footage for each. From detailed descriptions of some of these projects it is also possible to describe the phasing. A typical phasing is construction of condos, apartments will be in the initial phase along with 150 homes. Assisted living, skilled nursing sites, and community centers will accompany the second 150 homes. Finally, any clinics needed that don’t use the existing campus sites along will dormitory remodeling will follow. Remodeling of the campus including new landscaping, reshaping classrooms to be senior friendly and auxiliary service sites will be part of the initial effort. Based on all of this detailed information, in total cost for housing is estimated at $197 million and for Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing the total cost is estimated at $31 million. A “plug” number of $10 million is used as an estimate for modifications to the college including the dormitories.


How many and what kind of jobs will be created?


As we have identified the number of square feet to be newly constructed and the cost per square foot making a estimate of jobs created is straight forward. We have used the Stimulus Calculation Tool as described by SRRI (http://www.strategiceconomicresearch.org/AboutUs/StimCalcTool.pdf ) for these estimates. The tool provides a bases for not only the direct and indirect employment but the dollar value of those jobs living and working in the area. (Direct employment is where there is a clear and immediate relationship between investments and the creation, maintenance or improvement of jobs.

Indirect employment where direct employment effects have further secondary effects as a result of income multipliers or supplier effects. Induced employment is the result of direct and indirect employment spending their money.)


The following information was used to calculate jobs created for the construction phase of the project.


New Single and Multi-Family Housing Units

Every $1 million of construction costs supports:

9.9 total jobs= 4.6 direct jobs + another 5.3 indirect jobs(1)

An additional $781,054 of output through indirect and induced activities (2) 9.9


New Commercial Structures including Healthcare


Every $1 million of construction costs supports:


total jobs will be 13.7 with 6.8 direct jobs + another 4.9 indirect jobs

and induced activities creating an additional $770,301 of output through indirect and induced activities.


Using this data set to estimate the employment resulting from the complete development of the new community would result in the following employment.


In summary, over a four year period for this project:


New Single and Multi-Family Housing Units Construction for the New Retirement Community will result in the following employment.


Direct Jobs 685

Indirect Jobs 790


For the Assisted Living and Nursing home pods, construction will result in:


Direct Jobs 211

Indirect Jobs 152


Construction of the new retirement community will (if the estimates) are correct result in regional economic growth including:

  • Total full and part time construction jobs on site 896 persons
  • Total construction related full and part time jobs in the wider community of 942 persons

In summary. Over a three to four year period the construction of a new retirement community designed as a continuing care community of 1,607 people will create 1,838 construction and construction related jobs.


Employment At the Retirement Community


The model community is planned as a continuous care retirement community or often called a Life Care Community. The community will be designed for retirees who are currently living independently but want the security of being cared for when needed as they grow older. The business plan is to create, through a long term contract for independent living, assisted living, dementia care, nursing care and certain other healthcare services. Residents will be able to take advantage of professionally staffed range of healthcare services within the community.


The Life Care community will provide a full range of health and allied health professionals to the college and community. In addition, the community will employ a significant number of maintenance staff, bus drivers and many other “help” positions. In estimating the number of people to be employed by the retirement community, we examined the IRS 990 tax returns of ten university affiliated non profit retirement communities to understand the employment numbers they reported. All were life care communities. Two of the ten employed more employees than the total number of residents. It seems to be safe to say that the ratio of at least one employee (part and full time) for every resident is most common. For our model we have used an estimate that for our residential population of 1607 (capacity) there will be about 1,400 full and part time jobs directly related to the retirement community. These jobs would be all new to the region and of course will be accompanied by indirect and induced employment.


In addition to the employment on site there will be significant regional employment. Just as the construction secondary employment there are a significant number of jobs created in the community. The indirect and induced employment estimate is for 1,300 full and part time jobs in the community.


In summary in addition to the 1,800 construction and construction related jobs, there will be 1,400 full and part time positions related directly to the operation of the new retirement community and 1,300 new full and part time positions in the community.


In total building and operating a high quality retirement community of 1607 people, will result in 2,700 full and part time new positions in the region.


Employment related to the transformation of a rural college


Transforming a four year college to a college for seniors will result in a significant reduction of professional staff and the re-designation of other staff to assist in delivering quality education for seniors. The college will undergo significant changes. Core curriculum courses and other specialty courses will disappear. New professors teaching courses specifically designed for the new population will replace many professors. Administrative staff will also change as the types of student support will shift. One significant increase in college related staff will be the staffing of services for the retirees living in the dormitories for short courses. There will be more service staff than a typical dormitory maintains as the retiree and family visitors will be moving in and out throughout the year. While the college as a transformed retiree college will increase staff as part of the temporary living in the converted dormitories, the college itself will see significant employment changes. As the first college in the country to have a mission to educate seniors as its primary direction it is very difficult to estimate the exact number of employees and their positions. There will be an outflow of professors that have careers working in an accredited college or university. However, that outflow would be less severe than if the college closes its doors. Most tenured professors will be replaced by instructors/professors that feel comfortable teaching retirees. Based on the experience at other university based retirement communities, there will be a significant number of residents that are retired professors and teachers and will be involved in the education component of the community. Additionally, there will be residents who teach from experienced knowledge and self education. Many of the other college staff (administrative and maintenance) may stay the same. (a detailed manpower study would be provided as the transformation begins to occur.) There is not very much experience in manpower shifts for transforming colleges. Below is a discussion that sets the parameters for the model campus. Two snapshots are useful.


Manpower for a college of 1,000 Students


First the “typical” budget. A college of 1000 students has a total budget of about of about $23 million (we averaged the budgets of eight rural colleges of 1,000 enrollments) and they have about $90 million in Land, Buildings and Equipment that must be maintained.


Based on the eight “similar” college average, below is a historical snapshot of how this total budget distributed across expenditure lines.


Officers, Trustees 2.7%

Salaries 44.6%

Pensions 1.7%

Other Employee Benefits 6.5%

Payroll Taxes 3.0%

Accounting Expenditures .7%

Investment Management .6%

Other 3.2%

Advertising .7%

Office Expenses 3.4%

Information Technology .7%

Occupancy 8.4%

Travel 1.9%

Conferences .8%

Interest 2.6%

Depreciation 10.7%

Insurance 1.4%

Other 6.5%

Total $23,303,000


Not surprisingly, a small rural college spends the greatest amount on staff. Nearly 60% of the budget is expended on staff and related costs. As the college transforms the headcount and the expenditure for staff will have the greatest change and become a smaller line item.


A profile of a college staffing allocation


In reviewing data from eight existing rural colleges for our model, the total number of employees in a small college is fairly consistent. As reported on the annual IRS 990, a rural school of 1,000 students, the number of employees is about 800. In creating a redistribution manpower plan, it is important to understand how those positions are allocated by responsibility. While that information was not available for this work, for a very general look at full time equivalent distribution, we have identified a study by the Higher Education Executive Officers showing the manpower distribution of colleges and universities offering four year degrees and higher degrees but very limited research staff. Although this information is not specific to rural colleges, it should provides a good general profile. As the table below identifies, nearly half of the manpower at a college are faculty and graduate assistants. The configuration for the new retiree college will be quite different. We can expect that there will be a very few graduate students and fewer full time faculty.


Table 1 Manpower Analysis for:
Schools for Baccalaureate, masters, doctoral FTE Percentage
Executive/administrative and managerial



Other professionals






Service/maintenance/skilled crafts



Faculty (Instruction/research/public service)



Graduate assistants






Using this information, we have developed what could be a reasonable manpower distribution for the new retiree college. Without in-depth analysis, this information is highly speculative. However to demonstrate the distribution of employees in a retirement college it provides a “first look.



Table 2 Manpower

Estimates for New Retiree College


FTE Percent

Executive/administrative and managerial 30 6%

Other professionals 120 22%

Clerical/secretarial/technical 100 18%

Service/maintenance/skilled crafts 120 28%

Faculty 160 26%


Total 500 100%



The manpower re-distribution reflects a movement away from an accredited school to a flexible non-degree approach that is heavily dependent on students input in terms of the kind and length of the courses. Faculty will weighted heavily to the temporary professor. Limited research, no “publish or parish” dictums, no tenure and so on will make a significant difference in faculty. In number, service and maintenance staff will be about the same size. New positions for the dormitories that operate more or less like a long term residence hotel will add more positions. A significant portion of the current clerical will work for the marketing effort.


Conclusion and Recommendations



The creation of a transformed college so that its primary “students” are retirees and that college is surrounded and integrated with a retirement community would create and maintain hundreds of jobs in a specific local rural economy. In summary the construction phase would create 1,800 new jobs over a three or four year period. When the retirement community is fully operational as part of a transformed campus it would contribute 1,300 jobs. Those employment opportunities would range from highly trained medical staff to the crew that keeps the housing and grounds in excellent shape. Hundreds of jobs at all levels of skill and experience will be available. When the college is fully transformed we speculate that the new campus would hire about 500 people or a net reduction of 300 people from the college if it stayed in business. If our assumptions are correct, the total net gain of the new configuration would be 1,600 new jobs for the community.


On the assumption that the existing small rural college maybe faced with ceasing its operations, this option becomes a job generator beyond any other option that closing colleges have been able to develop.


The future of a retiree college system looks bright. Baby Boomers bring their generations health, wealth and education. The newer retirement living adds the concepts of continuing care and life long community design. We add to those a positive response to the current stress on small rural colleges across the country. The mix suggests that rural communities with small colleges under stress are in a unique position to grow their employment opportunities and their local economies by taking advantage of the concept described in the paper. For a small town community dependent on a troubled higher educational institution as a major employment hub, the transformation of the local college would breathe new life into the local and regional economy.



For further information contact or to be put on newsletter list:


Tom Berkshire


New Century Retirement Living


(217) 381-9403