Tuesday, June 7, 2011
The economy may still be running slow, but the University of West Georgia continues to be a powerful engine. UWG contributed $410 million to the region’s economy during the 2010 fiscal year, according to a newly released report. In 2009 UWG contributed $364 million to the region’s economy.
This number represents spending by UWG on personnel services, operating expenses, and spending by students. The report was issued by the Selig Center for Economic Growth in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.
Overall, the University System of Georgia 35 institutions had a $12.6 billion impact on the state’s economy during fiscal year 2010, according to the report.
UWG also accounted for 3,954 jobs in the region, according to data collected and analyzed by the Selig Center between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010. Most of the jobs, 2,926 of them, are off campus positions that exist because of spending by UWG.
“Clearly the University of West Georgia is one of the most important assets not only to Carroll County but to the entire region. The obvious economic impact is significant,” said Daniel Jackson, the president and CEO of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.
But Jackson said there are other, intangible, benefits: “What you bring to a community in terms of resources, opportunities for education, as well as continuing education. [UWG’s faculty, students and staff] become a part of the fiber of the community in civic work, recreation, quality of life and involvement.”
The knowledge and talent of the school’s teachers and staff are important resources for the community, he said. The chamber works closely with the Richards College of Business and the Small Business Development Center. Students are available to intern and to work at local businesses. When they graduate, many decide to stay in the Carroll community.
“That creates a whole new pool of talent. Those are things that add value to a community,” Jackson said.
Georgia’s public higher education system generated 130,738 full- and part-time jobs. This was 3.4 percent of all the jobs in Georgia, the report said. Most of those -- 66 percent -- are off-campus jobs in the private or public sectors that exist because of the presence in the community of USG institutions. The rest, or 34 percent, are on campus.
“Colleges and universities are key drivers in economic development,” said study author Dr. Jeffrey M. Humphreys, director of economic forecasting for the Selig Center.
“Higher education institutions educate the workforce, innovate through basic and applied research, and collaborate with employers to help them become more competitive.”
In addition to statewide economic impact, the report quantifies the significant contributions that each of Georgia’s public colleges and universities makes to the local economy of its host community. Researchers found that, on average, for every dollar of initial spending by a USG institution in its host community an additional 38 cents was generated for the local economy.