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College district adds $1.1 billion to region's economy

Posted on: Jan 12, 2021 12:00:00 AM
In: District
Contact: Della Elliott

 A new economic impact report finds that the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District added $1.1 billion to the San Diego County economy, providing a dependable stream of skilled employees to the region's workforce and dramatically boosting the lifetime earnings of graduates. 

The study was conducted by Emsi, an Idaho-based labor market analytics firm which produces similar reports for colleges and universities nationwide. Researchers analyzed data for fiscal year 2018-19 to determine the economic impact and return on investment for dollars invested by students in their education, by alumni who remain in San Diego County, and the impact of the District's operational spending. 

The study found the district creates a significant positive impact on the region, with its $1.1 billion in generated income supporting more than 14,2000 jobs and providing substantial benefits to students, taxpayers, and society. 

"This report confirms the tremendous economic impact our college district has on the San Diego County region and the substantial quality-of-life improvement Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges provide to students in particular," Chancellor Lynn Neault said. "Taxpayers can be assured that their investment in the district reflects dollars well spent, with the business community and society as a whole benefitting from this public expenditure."

According to the report, for every dollar invested by society in the college district, $10.20 was gained in added income and public sector savings, including reduced welfare and unemployment claims.

 Further, the analysis determined that the average associate degree graduate of Grossmont or Cuyamaca College will see annual earnings that are $9,900 higher than a person with a high school diploma. Over a working lifetime, the benefits of the associate degree over a high school diploma will amount to $396,000 in higher earnings. 

Other findings include: 

  • The economic impact of district spending for operations was $237.5 million, the equivalent of 3,689 jobs.
  • The economic impact of student spending was $65.4 million, or 1,214 jobs.
  • The economic impact of Grossmont and Cuyamaca College alumni was $810.2 million, or 9,128 jobs.
  • For every dollar spent by students for their education at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, they gained $6.90 in lifetime earnings. 
  • For every dollar of public money invested in the college district, taxpayers will receive $1.40 over the course of students' working lives. 

         Current students and alumni from Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges attest to how they've benefitted from their time at the campuses.

          Honor student Natalia Blake started at Cuyamaca College last spring and is working toward an associate degree in Water and Wastewater Treatment. With one-third of the water sector workforce reaching retirement age in the next 10 years, water utilities are currently facing challenges in recruiting and training employees, so students like Blake are imperative for the industry's future. 

          "There are many fields that I can contribute to in society, but none makes more sense than helping my community by working in the water industry," Blake said.

           Sean Burger, an honors graduate of Grossmont College's cardiovascular technology program, so impressed his supervisors while doing his student clinicals at Sharp Memorial Hospital in Kearny Mesa that they decided to hire him as an echo tech even before his graduation last June.

            Burger said he loves his job and credits his education at Grossmont College for his success.

            "I'm extremely fortunate to work at Sharp Memorial, which is incredibly supportive of Grossmont's cardiovascular program," he said. "The college has provided an incredible opportunity to me and it's all due to the dedication of the staff. Their passion for the field and students is why the program is so successful and I'm so grateful to them." 

Sean Burger picSean Burger, a 2020 graduate of Grossmont College’s Cardiovascular Technology program, is now employed as an echo tech at Sharp Memorial Hospital in Kearny Mesa.  He is part of a steady stream of skilled workers the college district provides to the region’s workforce.

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