RUTLAND — The College of St. Joseph, Vermont Works, Vermont Innovation Commons, and its partners have concluded a feasibility study for the College of St Joseph, and have identified an opportunity for a reimagined college and campus to move forward.
The recommendation of the study is to form a public-private partnership to invest in and renovate a campus and establish programs to support businesses and entrepreneurs while leveraging the federally recognized Opportunity Zone in which the campus is located.
As envisioned, the CSJ Center for Excellence and Innovation would be consistent with best-practice initiatives nationwide that have driven entrepreneurship and economic development, and that have attracted inward community investment.
The CSJ Center for Excellence and Innovation would provide non-degree education and workforce development, accelerator programs for entrepreneurs and startups, co-working space, office space for startups and others, co-living space, and serve as home to third party programs and business tenants.
“Several community members told us they think this initiative could be transformational for Rutland,” explained Dennis Moynihan, Program Director at Vermont Innovation Commons and lead co-author of the feasibility study. “I agree. Rutland has all the pieces to make this a success—engaged community leaders, young professionals eager for ‘buzzy’ spaces and events, and solid plans for leveraging the federal ‘Opportunity Zones’ program. More broadly, supporting entrepreneurship and lifelong learning are really key to Vermont’s 21st-century future.”
The study was conducted over 120-days, from June through September, to assess the feasibility of creating an “innovation center” together with a reimagined College of St. Joseph.
The CSJ Board met on Friday and approved an operational hiatus while the details of next-stage funding are being worked out.