LBW releases economic impact data

Published 9:15 am Monday, February 20, 2023

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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.

The independent, 102-page report by Lightcast estimates the Alabama Community College System directly impacts 98,923 jobs in the state, representing about 2.7 percent of Alabama’s gross state product. Additionally, taxpayers see a net benefit of $1.1 billion in added tax revenue from students’ higher lifetime earnings and increased output to businesses.

LBW Community College participated in this process to determine the impact the College has on its local service area.

“The results of the analysis quantitatively demonstrate that LBW is a strong investment and asset for our students, taxpayers, and community,” said Dr. Brock Kelley, LBW Community College President.

For every $1 invested at LBW, students gain $9.20 in lifetime earnings, taxpayers gain $2.30 in added tax revenue and public sector savings, and society gains $10.50 in added income and social savings.

The average associate degree graduate from LBW will see an increase in earnings of $7,600 each year compared to someone with a high school diploma working in Alabama.

The average annual return for LBW students is 22.8 percent.

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. For perspective, the activities of the colleges and their students support one out of every 27 jobs in Alabama.

Lightcast, a global leader in labor market analytics for colleges and universities, analyzed data using the FY2020-21 academic and financial reports from Alabama’s community and technical colleges, as well as industry and employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau.

“This report highlights the expansive impact we are making in our communities,” President Kelley added. “The impact of our alumni has an economic boost similar to hosting the Major League World Series along with an added income of $47.9 million annually to our economy.”

Alabama’s community college alumni who are currently employed in Alabama’s workforce added $5.7 billion in income during the analysis year. A total of 95 percent of Alabama community college alumni remain in the state to live and work.

“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,” said Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System Jimmy H. Baker.

“Residents are receiving a strong return on investment when they invest in training at one of our colleges – whether through an adult education program or rapid skills training program or through a rigorous certification or academic transfer program that allows them to move toward completing a bachelor’s degree. And, they’re using that training to make a difference right here in Alabama.”