The great value of community colleges has been further confirmed after the Contra Costa Community College District recently released findings from a study related to the district’s economic impact to the surrounding areas.
The study was farmed out by the district to Economic Modeling Specialists International, a self proclaimed “leading provider of economic impact studies and labor market data to educational institutions, workforce planners, and regional developers in the U.S. and internationally,” that found, among other things, about 2.3 percent of the county’s estimated $78B gross regional product is contributed by the district’s efforts. While a higher gross regional product can be considered a good sign of a healthy local economy, it should please all based on the return of investment EMSI claims the district brings to the county’s taxpayers. That number is claimed to be a return of 3.2-1 — $3.20 for every $1 spent — with respect to tax revenue and public sector savings.
Mayor Sean Wright of Antioch, a former student in the college district and local business owner, did not seem taken aback by those numbers.
“This report just confirms what we all know, that our community colleges are tremendous assets for our community,” said Wright. “These homes of education provide transfer opportunities at reduced costs to students, certificate programs that lead to higher incomes, enjoyable learning to improve our quality of life and local jobs that contribute to the economy.”
According to the report LMC specifically generated more than 1,300 jobs in operations alone, but the impact of the increased earnings of LMC’s alumni and the businesses they work for amounts to nearly 3,000 jobs. That is great news to LMC President Bob Kratochvil.
“[The report] quantifies the important work we do for our community in financial terms, and reinforces the role of the college as a regional economic driver,” said Kratochvil. “LMC serves as an extremely valuable asset focused on industry needs, graduating qualified students into the workforce, and providing quality education that ultimately advances our local economy.”
EMSI reported that the district benefits society by educating students who are more likely to be healthy, less reliant on social services and civically engaged. Chancellor Fred Wood, spoke of the relation of these statistics to quality of life throughout the county.
“It takes an entire community to create the quality of life that we enjoy here in Contra
Costa County,” said Wood. “As a district, with colleges in every corner of the county, we are proud to be a key economic engine and workforce development partner so our local businesses can thrive in the global economy.”
Chancellor Wood added in similar fashion as others that “this study once again shows that a community college education is a great investment for our students, their families and our taxpayers.”