Study shows technical colleges’ economic impact at $6.9 billion
Published on Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Western Technical College and the state’s 15 other technical colleges have an impact of roughly $6.9 billion on Wisconsin’s economy each year, according to a recent study by the Wisconsin Taxpayer’s Alliance (WISTAX). The multi-billion dollar boost is the total economic output from jobs, higher wages, and spending in one year.
The study, “Growing Wisconsin’s Economy: The Economic Impact of Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges,” used a computer input-output model to estimate the impact of the technical colleges in 2005-06. The study estimated $1.4 billion in total spending regenerated $2.8 billion in economic output. A total of $778 million in state and local taxes were invested in 2005-06, which means taxpayers experienced a return of $3.62 for every $1 invested.
The study also examined the additional earnings related to all technical college graduates under 62 years of age and determined these earnings generated nearly $4.1 billion in additional economic output in 2006.
The study also projects that 2005-06 graduates will earn $2.1 billion more than they would have earned as high school graduates, representing a payback to taxpayers of nearly $6 to every $1 invested.
“The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance study underlines Western’s contribution to our region's economic vitality,” said Lee Rasch, president of Western Technical College. “As we help educate and train both future employees and incumbent workers in this area, we are also improving the quality of life in the communities that we serve.”
“This is great news for taxpayers who are investing in one of their state’s most important assets and one of their state’s biggest economic contributors,” said Dan Clancy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System. “The study proves how closely linked and valuable the technical colleges are to economic development throughout the state,” Clancy added.
The study is actually a conservative estimate of the economic impact of the technical colleges, because it did not measure the direct benefits of higher earnings and job opportunities for working adults who take individual courses. It also did not measure the social benefits of increased educational attainment, such as reduced crime, better health and fewer demands on social services.
Of the 409,000 residents using the technical colleges system each year, 109,000 are enrolled in degree or diploma programs. Approximately 300,000 residents are taking individuals courses to enhance their careers or lives.
The study was completed by the consulting arm of WISTAX at the request of the Wisconsin Technical College System. The report is available online at www.wtcsystem.edu.
The Wisconsin Technical College System has 16 technical college districts throughout Wisconsin, which offer more than 300 programs awarding two-year associate degrees, one and two-year technical diplomas and short-term technical diplomas. In addition, the System is the major provider of customized training and technical assistance to Wisconsin’s business and industry community. More than half of all adults in Wisconsin have accessed the technical colleges for education and training. Find more about educational programs at www.witechcolleges.org.