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Making an impact

Iowa Central adds $152M to area economy

-Messenger file photo
A report prepared by the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees states that the college has a substantial positive impact on the area’s economy.

The impact of Iowa Central Community College extends far beyond the degrees and certificates it awards every year.

The spending of the school, its employees, students and alumni has a huge impact on the economy of the nine-county region the Fort Dodge-based college serves.

That impact amounted to $152.9 million in fiscal year 2019-2020, according to a recently released report.

The report also found that one out of every 27 jobs in the region is supported by the college.

”I think what this report really reinforces is how important Iowa Central is to the economy of the region,” said Dr. Jesse Ulrich, the college’s president.

-Messenger graphic by Michelle Colshan

”I think it really reinforces the fact that all of the good things we are accomplishing here have an impact on the economy of the region,” he added. ”It is something that our region should be really proud of.”

Ulrich said the fact that one out of every 27 jobs in the region is supported by the college was ”staggering to me.”

He said that means if Iowa Central didn’t exist one out of every 27 workers in the area might not have a job.

The report was prepared by the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees.

It examined the college’s economic impact on Buena Vista, Calhoun, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Sac, Webster and Wright counties.

It found that the $152.9 million total economic impact came from these categories:

• $116.5 million from spending by alumni

• $27.5 million in operational spending by the college

• $6.6 million in spending by college students

• $2.3 million in college construction spending

The report found that the college supports 2,860 jobs in the nine county region.

Students who earn an associate degree from Iowa Central will see annual earnings that are about $8,200 higher than those of a person with just a high school diploma, according to the report.

About 77 percent of Iowa Central graduates stay in the nine county region after completing their education. That results in the big economic impact alumni have on the region.

”Iowa Central has a long history of being a driver of providing a skilled workforce in our area,” Ulrich said.

”As the workforce shortage continues, our efforts to draw students to our area and provide skilled employees to employers is critically important,” said Ulrich, who is an Iowa Central graduate.

The report also examined the return on investment on tax money received by the college. The report’s authors calculated that for every $1 in tax money Iowa Central receives there is an economic benefit of $1.50.

”I think most people would take that deal every time,” Ulrich said.

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