The Coast Community College District has created a positive economic impact in the community by preparing students for the workforce and generating a return on education investments, a recent economic impact study by Emsi, a labor market analysis firm, and the Los Angeles Orange County Regional Consortium found.
According to the study, which was commissioned by the district, the broader society gained $21.90 for every dollar invested in Orange Coast College. Coastline students, meanwhile, brought a $5.30 return for every $1 investment, and Golden West students netted $5.70.
The report also found that through local spending, students contributed $141.8 million to the economy in the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
“This study shows that funding that is provided to us by the state, in many ways through taxpayers, is providing good return on their investment,” Coastline College President Lori Adrian said. “We are providing an opportunity to not only be good students, but productive citizens that can sustain themselves and their families.”
One reason for the high return on community college investment is that an educated workforce better contributes to the local and state economies, the report found.
The district’s economic impact in the community can also be attributed in part to the accessibility of its colleges, said Letitia Clark, Coast Community College District director of public affairs, marketing and government relations.
“Nearby students have the choice in obtaining affordable education and after they graduate they often want to stay (in the community). Not only do local students stay but students from all over come here and also want to stay here,” Clark said. “When people go on to finish an AA degree or decide to get a certificate, they’re finding they can locate jobs in the area.”
The study found that around 30 percent of the district’s students came from outside Orange County in the 2016-2017 fiscal year and says that they wouldn’t have moved to the area if the colleges didn’t exist. By spending money on groceries, rent, transportation and other living expenses, these students from outside Orange County generated $141.8 million in added income to the county — the equivalent of supporting 2,392 jobs, the report said.
Adrian said the number of employees at the district also plays a role in making it an economical asset to the community.
“We not only provide of course, education, and help individuals of various backgrounds,” Adrian said, “but we also employ a lot of individuals.”
In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the economic impact study said, the colleges employed 2,463 full-time and part-time faculty and staff, including district employees, adding $309.3 million in income to the county.