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Study: Riverland boosts regional economy by $70 million, 871 jobs

Published 10:16am Friday, March 22, 2013

Riverland Community College knows the value of education.

Riverland released the results of a study Wednesday that estimates the college’s economic impact on the regional economy to be $70 million and 871 jobs.

“Riverland Community College plays a vital role in supporting our state and regional economy,” said Kent Hanson, the college’s interim president. “Our operations and the economic activity generated by our faculty, staff and students touch virtually every corner of our regional economy and support local business and industry.”

The study was conducted by Wilder Research, a source of data used by state and local planners, policy makers and service providers. Wilder research scientist Jose Diaz said the study was a good way to measure an organization’s activities on a regional economy.

“Policy makers and community leaders can use the data to inform their decisions,” Diaz said. “Riverland Community College clearly has a significant impact on the regional economy.”

According to the study, Riverland generates about $4 million in tax revenues for state and local government each year.

The study further estimates the value from graduates’ career-long increase in productivity. Riverland awarded 380 associate degrees and 276 diplomas and certificates in 2011. Assuming a 40-year work life, the graduates’ education will yield $27.7 million more in state income.

“Riverland Community College makes a long-term contribution to the regional economy with every graduating class because the productivity improvements from higher education last for the worker’s entire career,” Diaz said.

Riverland is part of the 24 colleges and seven universities that make up Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Statewide, the Wilder study shows MnSCU generates an annual economic impact of $8.3 billion — a direct impact of $5 billion and indirect impact in other industries of $3.3 billion. MnSCU also represents a return of $13.53 for each $1 of state appropriation, and pulls in about $490 million in tax revenue for state and local governments.

In terms of jobs, the study said MnSCU generates an estimated 80,856 in the state, comprising 56,876 direct jobs and 23,979 indirect jobs created by vendors, contractors and businesses supplying inputs.

The study also said the productivity of MnSCU graduates across the state is equivalent to $4.7 billion of future value created each year.

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