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Empire State Development Announces Expansion Plans for Maria College’s Health Professions Programs

Nearly $4 Million Project will Upgrade Facilities and Double Enrollment Capacity in Crucial Nursing and Health Care Programs

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that Maria College in Albany will expand the school’s educational infrastructure for practice-ready health care professionals as part of a nearly $4 million project. The expansion will address structural needs and capacity limitations at three buildings on campus and provide more registered professional nurses (RNs) with the opportunity to meet New York State requirements.

ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “The expansion of Maria College’s health professions program will address the growing demand for skilled, educated health care professionals in the Capital Region while supporting sustainable workforce and economic development efforts across the region.”

Maria College will invest nearly $4 million to renovate part of the McAuley Residence, creating simulation clinical areas with health care informatics technology for high-level technical nursing; create three simulation lab spaces for hands-on training and testing; renovate Marian Hall to update and create dedicated wet lab space for anatomy and physiology courses; and address critical needs at both Marian Hall and the Main Building including providing handicapped access to the second floor and replacing an 89-year-old wooden elevator. ESD has offered to support this project through a $250,000 performance-based capital grant.

Dr. Thomas J. Gamble, Maria College President, said, “Maria College has been a leader in nursing and health care education for 60 years and has provided the region with skilled and compassionate professionals. We are grateful to New York State for its monetary support that will help create state-of-the-art learning space equipped with simulation and informatics technology to ensure nursing and health profession students develop skills in real world practice scenarios.”

Last year the entire nursing program at Maria College had an average enrollment of around 400 students, or 46 percent of the student body. The Bachelor of Science program enrollment numbers have been capped due to physical space limitations. Creating the new nursing program space in the McAuley building and renovating spaces in the Marian and Main buildings, will allow the College to double the program capacity over the next five years.

Currently, all RNs are required to have at least an associate degree and pass a licensure exam. New legislation in New York State requires that all new RNs with an associate degree earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in nursing within 10 years of licensure. There is a critical demand for these nurses in the Capital Region, with some hospitals offering to pay tuition for employees who enroll in this program.

There are more than 12,100 RNs in the Capital Region, and the number is expected to climb to more than 13,100 by 2022. About 500 nurses graduate with an associate degree from Capital Region schools annually and will need to earn a B.S. degree within 10 years. Currently licensed RNs are exempt but will need to attend a completion program to earn a promotion or attend graduate school.

Senator Neil Breslin said, “Maria College has been a Capital Region leader in educating students for careers in health professions. This expansion will help meet the growing demand for nurses in the area, and I thank Empire State Development for supporting this project.”

Assembly Member Patricia Fahy said, “Upstate New York has a need for more qualified healthcare providers than ever. The expansion of Maria College’s healthcare education campus will offer the Capital Region’s next generation of providers the hands-on experience they need to serve our families. Congrats to Maria College on this much needed expansion.”

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, “The quality nursing programs found at Maria College go hand-in-hand with the industry leading hospitals located right here in Albany County. Empire State Development deserves recognition for investing in this multi-million-dollar expansion project being spearheaded by President Gamble, that will continue the investment in experienced, well-educated nurses that are critical to providing our residents with the first-rate health care they deserve.”

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, “Maria College’s investment demonstrates their longstanding commitment to our community and to providing quality education that meets the healthcare needs of the City of Albany and the entire Capital Region. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and Empire State Development for supporting this important project.”

About Maria College
Founded in 1958, Maria College is one of 17 colleges and universities in the United States sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. The private, co-educational, Catholic college in Albany serves approximately 800 students in a variety of degree and certificate programs including liberal arts, healthcare management, nursing, occupational therapy assistant, and health and occupational sciences. With an unwavering commitment to the humanities, the College instills in its graduates a respect for the dignity of each person and the ability to transform learned skills into caring service. More information is available at

About Empire State Development
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency ( The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit and