LBWCC impacts area economy

Published 11:14 am Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lurleen B. Wallace Community College is included in a recent report issued by the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) as having a powerful economic impact in the area, with a return of investment calculated at 6.5.

“The return on investment (ROI) means that for every dollar of State appropriations, LBWCC contributed $5.50 of additional goods and services to our local economies,” said LBWCC President Dr. Herb Riedel.

The reported economic impact of LBWCC averaged $53,990,676 for fiscal years 2008 to 2010. The average increase in employment attributable to LBWCC is 425 jobs.

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“In other words, LBWCC contributes almost $54 million to the local economy every year. System-wide, the impact is $2.4 billion added to the state’s GDP and 16,888 jobs,” said Riedel.

The report captures the direct spending of the college, employees and students, and does not include the economic contribution of workforce readiness or development.

LBWCC has locations in Andalusia, Opp, Greenville, and Luverne, covering a five-county service area. In addition to academic and technical programs of study, LBWCC provides specialized training for existing business and industry, workforce development, non-credit and continuing education, adult education and community services to area residents.

The “Economic Impact and Return on Investment Analysis: Alabama Community College System” report by Dr. M. Keivan Deravi, Auburn University at Montgomery economics professor, computes the economic impact of operations of the ACCS on the economy of the State of Alabama and estimates the return on the state’s investment in the system.

Using variables of employment, earnings and final demand, or output, the report estimates the ROI statewide is 7.0, with 93 percent of the system’s 25 colleges having a ROI of 4.0 or higher. In the report, Devari lists the financial output, state appropriation, and ROI for each college, which ranges from 12.1 to 1.4.

“In terms of raw numbers, the ACCS is a major employer and provider of jobs,” said Deravi. “In terms of economic development and industrial recruitment, it serves as a valuable economic partner to many localities and acts as a significant economic engine for the state.”