Students and alumni of colleges within the Alabama Community College System add $6.6 billion to Alabama’s economy, supporting one out of every 27 jobs in the state, according to an economic impact report released Monday.
The independent, 102-page report by Lightcast estimates the Alabama Community College System directly impacts 98,923 jobs in the state, representing about 2.7% of Alabama’s gross state product. Additionally, taxpayers see a net benefit of $1.1 billion in added tax revenue from students’ higher lifetime earnings and increased output to businesses.
Enterprise State Community College serves the four-county region of Pike, Dale, Coffee and Geneva Counties. According to Lightcast’s report for the College, ESCC added $78.9 million to the College’s service area economy for the 2020-21 fiscal year, the equivalent of 1,099 jobs.
“This report shows that Enterprise State is following its mission ‘to improve our communities by providing students with excellent opportunities to further their education and enter the workforce,’” ESCC President Danny Long said. “We are providing rigorous education and essential training that is funneling back into our local economy in a number of ways, and we are continually moving forward with projects and programs that we hope will increase that return to community.”
A part of the College’s total impact, ESCC’s alumni impact alone provided $65.2 million in added income to the College’s service area, the equivalent of hosting the World Series 10 times. Additionally, the college’s construction spending impact for the 2020-21 fiscal year was around $761,000. Since FY 20-21, the College has added two new construction projects: a new Performing Arts Center and a Workforce Training Center coming to the ESCC campus. Site work is already underway for these two projects on the ESCC campus in addition to the continued renovation projects at the Alabama Aviation College in Ozark.
The report also found that ESCC “is a strong investment” that provides almost $350 million in total benefits to society, which includes added student income, added income from college activities, added business income and social savings. The report states that “for every dollar invested in ESCC, people in Alabama will receive a cumulative value of $9.90 in benefits.”
“In addition to our well-known transfer degree options, we strive to offer essential training opportunities here at ESCC that meet both our students’ and our workforce needs,” ESCC’s Director of Workforce Development Leigh Shiver said. “We are proud of what we do to offer great educational opportunities and promote workforce and economic development in our community. It is truly fulfilling to see in this report the impact of our efforts.”
Among the report’s highlights for the state:
- The impact of the Alabama Community College System, which celebrates 60 years as a system this year and represents 24 community and technical colleges across Alabama, supported 98,923 jobs in FY2021. For perspective, the activities of the colleges and their students support one out of every 27 jobs in Alabama.
- Taxpayers, who provided the Alabama Community College System with $869.8 million of funding in FY2020-21, will receive an added tax revenue benefit of $1.1 billion. Additionally, reduced demand for government-funded services in Alabama will add another $82.2 million in benefits to taxpayers.
- The ACCS generates $7.40 for every dollar invested in ACCS, for as long as the colleges’ FY2020-21 students remain active in the state workforce.
- The average Alabama community college graduate earns $7,900 more each year than a resident who does not obtain more than a high school diploma.
- The average annual return for Alabama community college students is 22.1%.
- The colleges’ operations spending was $535.8 million in added income to the state economy.
- The colleges’ construction spending was $13.3 million in added income for Alabama.
- The jobs retained or created and additional investments by businesses supported by the Alabama Technology Network, an entity of the ACCS, created $206.5 million in added income.
- As a result of the $1.8 billion invested by Alabama to support the ACCS, the economy will grow by $12.8 billion over the course of students’ working lives.
Lightcast, a global leader in labor market analytics for colleges and universities, analyzed data using FY2020-21 academic and financial reports from Alabama’s community and technical colleges, as well industry and employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau.