Spending Associated with Wiregrass Georgia Tech has Huge Impact on Region

UGA economist: technical colleges are "an enduring pillar' of state's regional economy


March 6, 2014

Valdosta, GA - How much does the area served by Wiregrass Georgia Technical College benefit economically from spending that is either directly or indirectly related to the college?

According to Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, it adds up to $55,199,383.

The economic impact is in a new report from Dr. Humphreys that details his analysis of economic data from the Technical College System of Georgia for the 2012 fiscal year.

The study also found that the college’s spending results in 757 public and private sector jobs. Humphreys reported that statewide, for each job created on a TCSG college campus, one off-campus job exists because of college-related expenditures. One in every 264 nonfarm jobs in Georgia, he said, occurs because of spending associated with a TCSG college.

"The fundamental finding is that each of the TCSG colleges, including Wiregrass Georgia Technical College creates substantial economic impacts in terms of output, value added, labor income, and employment. These economic impacts demonstrate that continued emphasis on technical colleges as an enduring pillar of the regional economy translates into jobs, higher incomes, and greater production of goods and services for local households and businesses,” said Humphreys.

The TCSG commissioned Humphreys to calculate the importance that spending connected to the state’s technical colleges has for their service delivery areas, which range in size from two to eleven counties. Wiregrass serves Atkinson, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Coffee, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, and Wilcox counties. Several categories of college expenditures were reviewed for the study, including personnel salaries and fringe benefits, college operations, capital construction projects, and student spending, to name a few.

The result, put in the context of the taxpayer investment, indicated that the $12,238,353 state appropriation for Wiregrass in 2012 supported the enrollment of 6,713 students, generated $55,199,383 in local spending, and helped to sustain almost 757 college-related jobs.

“The return on the investment made by the state in Wiregrass Georgia Technical College is significant to the economy of the communities we serve. Not only are we providing the trained workforce needed to sustain business and industry in our service area but the existence of the college in the community is an economic stimulus,” stated Dr. Tina K. Anderson.

Statewide, the $315 million state appropriation for the TCSG in 2012 helped to train almost 153,000 technical college students, contributed to $1.2 billion in direct and indirect spending in communities throughout Georgia, and was a factor in almost 15,000 public and private sector jobs.

“The spending factor alone is a sizable return on the state’s investment in the TCSG, and it would be significantly higher if we were to add the economic value that our graduates create once they leave college and meet employers’ needs for a skilled workforce,” said Ron Jackson, commissioner of the TCSG.

The study did not attempt to measure the value in terms of the increased earnings of TCSG graduates or the colleges’ role in helping the state to attract and retain companies with high-skill, good-paying jobs. Nor did it calculate the impact of the TCSG’s Quick Start program, a state economic development incentive that provides customized training free of charge to new and expanding businesses.

The full report, The Economic Impact of Technical College System of Georgia Institutions on their Service Delivery Area Economies in FY 2012, is available online at https://tcsg.edu/download/TCSG_Impact_2012_Economic_Activity_1.2014.pdf.

The following is a list of the 24 TCSG colleges and their economic and employment impact on their service delivery areas in 2012. For a map of the colleges’ service delivery areas go to https://tcsg.edu/tech_map.php.

About the TCSG: The 24 colleges of the Technical College System of Georgia offer affordable education and excellent training in more than 600 certificate, diploma and two-year associate degree programs. Students of all ages take advantage of low tuition, outstanding instructors, hands-on learning and state-of-the-art equipment to gain the skills needed for today’s in-demand jobs. In 2013, the TCSG colleges delivered 2.4 million credit hours of instruction to more than 151,000 students. The TCSG is online, too, serving 72,000 students through the system’s Georgia Virtual Technical Connection.

TCSG students enjoy the benefits of Georgia’s HOPE grant and scholarship and the federal Pell grant which can pay for a significant portion of a TCSG education.

The TCSG Office of Adult Education delivered programs to 71,000 adult learners in 2013, including GED preparation and testing services that enabled almost 16,000 men and women to earn their GED credential.

The TCSG Quick Start program provided customized workforce training to almost 58,000 employees of new and expanding companies in Georgia.

For more information about the TCSG and links to the 24 TCSG colleges, go to www.tcsg.edu .