Mid-Plains study sees economic impact on area

Monday, April 20, 2009

NORTH PLATTE -- Mid-Plains Community College is a major contributor in providing local economic stability and a continued high level of quality-of-life services to its 18-county service area. In a recent study of the socio-economic impact of the MPCC on its service area, a number of interesting points were made.

The study, produced by Economic Modeling Specialists Inc. a company focused on regional workforce and economic analysis, web-based software, and economic impact reports, reviewed the college's fiscal year of 2006-07. EMSI applies a comprehensive model designed to quantify the economic benefits of community and technical colleges and translates these into common sense benefit/cost and investment terms. It was funded mostly by the Nebraska Department of Education and examined all six community college systems in the state.

According to the EMSI's research, MPCC impacts the local economy in three ways: (1) through its local purchases, including wages paid to faculty and staff; (2) through the spending of students who come from outside the service area; and (3) through the increase in the skill base of the local workforce. These effects break down as follows:

MPCC Operations Spending

Adjusting for taxes, it is estimated that the MPCC service area added $10.9 million to the local economy in added labor and non-labor income in FY 2006-07. MPCC creates income through the payroll of its faculty and staff, as well as through local purchases for the ongoing operation of its seven campus operations and over 40 satellite classrooms. Further, when major construction or building or classroom renovation is implemented, the local economy is further supplemented due to the local use of sub contractors and materials suppliers.

Outside Service Area Student Spending

It is estimated that the spending of MPCC's out-of-area students added approximately $2.4 million in outside new-dollar income in FY 2006-07. Approximately 16 percent of the MPCC student population either commuted or relocated to the MPCC service area to attend college. Out-of-area students spent money to buy books and supplies, while those who moved to the area rented apartments, purchased food, paid for transportation, attended sports and cultural events, and so on. These expenditures created revenue for local businesses.

Past Student Productivity

For a single year, it is estimated that MPCC's 2006-07 student body will contribute a total of $7.3 million in taxable income to the Nebraska economy each year (in the aggregate).

Each year as students leave MPCC to join or rejoin the local workforce, our local tax base and economy is increased. Health care graduates start careers in local hospitals, medical offices, and care centers. Graduates from MPCC's Business School, Transportation and Building Trades areas, as well as associate degreed graduates complete their studies and enter the local workforce in high paying careers. As they settle into family life and purchase homes, they become the future of our rural communities.

Using FY 2006-07 figures, it is estimated that the income generated by former MPCC students impacts the 18-county service area an approximate $89.3 million. Based on the past 30 years of enrollments, it is estimated that MPCC students completed 548,200 credits of instruction in the service area workforce in FY 2006-07. These MPCC trained workers contributed to a higher level of earnings and increased profits for their employers. Nine out of 10 students who attended MPCC remain in or return to their local community.

In his review of the EMSI study, Dr. Michael Chipps, President of Mid-Plains Community College said, "The results of this study clearly illustrate that MPCC is a sound investment from multiple perspectives. The college enriches the lives of students and increases their lifetime incomes. It benefits taxpayers by generating increased tax revenues from an expanded economy and reduces the demand for taxpayer-supported social services. From this study, it is evident that the college contributes to and actually fuels the local and state economy."

The service area constituency is encouraged to review the report entitled, "The Economic Contribution of Mid-Plains Community College." It can be found on the Mid-Plains Community College web site at www.mpcc.edu in the "College Reports" section found under the "Welcome" dropdown section.

For more information, contact Chuck Salestrom at (308) 535-3781.

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