Submitted by Dalton State College
Dalton State College pumped nearly $115 million into the regional economy last year and created more than 1,500 jobs for Northwest Georgia, according to a report released by the University System of Georgia (USG).
The report, which measures economic impact of the system’s 35 member institutions, covers the 2010 fiscal year, July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2010, and was compiled by the Selig Center for Economic Growth of the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.
Dalton State’s results mirrored those of the state’s public colleges and universities — output impact on the regional economies was essentially flat compared to FY 2009, reflecting both lower spending by USG institutions on operations and consequently smaller levels of spending by vendors and businesses that service the system’s schools. But the overall employment impact increased substantially — in the case of Dalton State, the number of jobs created in the region due to the college grew 38 percent over the preceding year.
“The report shows that colleges are significant economic drivers for the communities and regions in which they are located,” said Dalton State President John O. Schwenn. “More students on campus translates into more dollars in the community. Our high enrollment in FY 2010 resulted in the hiring of more faculty and staff on campus, as well as more employees throughout the region to provide the goods and services required by our increased number of students, faculty and staff.”
The total economic impact to the Northwest Georgia region was $114.8 million, up 5.7 percent from the prior year; the number of full- and part-time jobs sustained by Dalton State dollars rose 38 percent to 1,581 over the preceding year.
Initial spending by Dalton State equaled $106.78 million; this spending included salaries and fringe benefits, operating supplies and expenses, and other budgeted expenditures. The remaining $8.023 million in economic impact was created by re-spending — the multiplier effect of those dollars as they are spent again within the region which includes Whitfield, Murray, Catoosa, Gordon, Walker and Gilmer counties.
The value of the college to the region extends beyond mere dollars.
“Among the many assets of our community, Dalton State continues to be a leading economic driver,” said Brian Anderson, president and CEO of the Dalton-Whitfield Chamber of Commerce. “In addition to the direct economic impact provided through expenditures for personnel, buildings and all other purchases, Dalton State is educating thousands who work in our local and regional economy. For a community to thrive, the educational attainment of its citizens must be increasing over time. Because of Dalton State, our educational attainment grows year after year.”
According to the Selig study, the University System had a $12.6 billion impact on the state’s economy during FY 2010.
Details of the study indicate that Georgia’s public higher education system generated 130,738 full- and part-time jobs. This was 3.4 percent of all the jobs in Georgia in FY 2010, or about one job in 30. Most of the jobs — 66 percent — are off-campus positions in the private or public sectors that exist because of the presence in the community of USG institutions. The remainder of the jobs (34 percent) are on campus.
“Colleges and universities are key drivers in economic development,” said study author Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of economic forecasting for the Selig Center. “Higher education institutions educate the work force, innovate through basic and applied research, and collaborate with employers to help them become more competitive.”
Elyse Cochran, executive director/senior vice president for economic development for the Dalton-Whitfield County Joint Development Authority, echoed Humphreys. “The number one driver in successful, diverse economic development in our community will be rising education attainment levels and work force development,” she said. “When promoting our community to potential new businesses Dalton State College is among our top selling points to reassure potential investors that education is important to Greater Dalton and our region.”
The Selig Center’s research has its limitations — it neither quantifies the many long-term benefits that a higher-education institution and its outreach and service units impart to its host community’s economic development nor does it measure intangible benefits, such as cultural opportunities, intellectual stimulation and volunteer work, to local residents. Spending by USG retirees (Dalton State has 116 retired employees) who still live in the host communities and by visitors to USG institutions is not measured.
Dalton State economic impact to region
Year Economic Impact (unadjusted $) Employment Impact (Jobs)
FY 2010 $114,812,410 1,581
FY 2009 $108,627,435 1,143
FY 2008 $96,010,983 1,053
FY 2007 $87,548,854 949
FY 2004 $73,636,446 937
FY 2001 $52,107,702 676