Jefferson State, other Alabama Community Colleges have major economic impact on state

Published 10:11 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023

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SHELBY COUNTY – Students and alumni of colleges within the Alabama Community College System add $6.6 billion to Alabama’s economy, supporting one out of every 27 jobs in the state, according to an economic impact report released Monday.

According to a Jefferson State Community College press release, annual economic value of Jefferson State was measured at $485.8 million in added income or 6,444 jobs supported.

The college has an enrollment of 12,292 credit students; 1,154 non-credit students and employs 702 people. Jefferson State was determined to be a particularly strong investment for:

-Students, who gain $6.60 in lifetime earnings for every $1 invested.

-Taxpayers, who gain $4.90 in added tax revenue and public sector savings for every $1 invested.

-Society, which gains $14.50 in added income and social savings for every $1 invested.

“This economic impact report confirms what we already knew, Jefferson State and others in the Alabama Community College System are vital to our state,” Jefferson State Community College President Keith Brown said. “Community Colleges support Alabama’s workforce and economic development, add tax revenue, but most importantly, we improve lives. Jefferson State has proudly provided accessible education and workforce training for nearly 60 years, and we will continue to provide these opportunities.”

Tax payers see a net benefit of $1.1 billion in added in tax revenue from student’s lifetime earnings.

“Our legacy centers on helping people develop the skills they need to help build the framework of our state’s economy, and the data this report provides proves we are on a forward path of excellence in that pursuit,” Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System Jimmy Baker said. “Residents are receiving a strong return on investment when they invest in training at one of our colleges —whether through an adult education program, rapid skills training program, rigorous certification or academic transfer program that allows them to move toward completing a bachelor’s degree. They’re using that training to make a difference right here in Alabama.”

Some of the highlights amongst the report included:

“The impact of the Alabama Community College System, which celebrates 60 years as a system this year and represents 24 community and technical colleges across Alabama, supported 98,923 jobs in FY2021,” according to the press release. “Taxpayers, who provided the Alabama Community College System with $869.8 million of funding in FY2020-21, will receive an added tax revenue benefit of $1.1 billion. Additionally, reduced demand for government-funded services in Alabama will add another $82.2 million in benefits to taxpayers.”

The ACCS generates $7.40 for every dollar invested in ACCS, for as long as the colleges’ FY2020-21 students remain active in the state workforce.

The average Alabama community college graduate earns $7,900 more each year than a resident who does not obtain more than a high school diploma.

The average annual return for Alabama community college students is 22.1%. The colleges’ operations spending was $535.8 million in added income to the state economy.

The colleges’ construction spending was $13.3 million in added income for Alabama.

The jobs retained or created and additional investments by businesses supported by the Alabama Technology Network, an entity of the ACCS, created $206.5 million in added income.

As a result of the $1.8 billion invested by Alabama to support the ACCS, the economy will grow by $12.8 billion over the course of students’ working lives.