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Economic impact study shows EAC has almost a quarter billion dollar impact on Graham County

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Economic impact study shows EAC has almost a quarter billion dollar impact on Graham County

By Todd Haynie

Thatcher, AZ—Eastern Arizona College recently participated in a study by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), which demonstrated the College’s value to residents of Graham County. Using data from fiscal year 2013-2014, the study investigated the economic impact created by EAC on the local business community and the benefits the College generates in return for the investments made by its key stakeholder groups – students, society, and taxpayers.

The results indicated that EAC creates value in many ways, including playing a key role in helping students increase their employability and achieve their individual potential, providing students with the skills needed to have a fulfilling and prosperous career.

Identifying the impact on the local business community, the study found that the College increased local consumer spending and enhanced local business productivity as a result of added income based on College operations, the impact of students who relocated to the Gila Valley to attend EAC, and the increased productivity of EAC alumni employed in the regional workforce.

College Operations Impact

During the analysis years, the College employed 840 full- and part-time employees, with payroll amounting to $29.2 million, much of which was spent in Graham County. In addition, the College spent $14 million, supporting its day-to-day operations. The net impact of this payroll and other expenses in the local areas was approximately $33 million in added income. Impact of Student Spending During the analysis year, the study suggested that out-of-area students spent $4.8 million to purchase groceries, rent accommodations, transportation costs, etc. Of this amount, these students generated just under $1 million in new income to th e local economy.

Alumni Impact The biggest impact resulted from education and training for local residents. Thousands of former EAC students are employed in the College district. During the analysis year, the study found that EAC alumni generated $202.5 million in added income to the local area, representing higher wages students earned during the year, increased output of businesses that employed students, and the multiplier effects that occur as students and their employers spend money at other businesses.

Total Economic Impact

The overall impact of EAC on local businesses amounted to $236.5 million, equal to the sum of the College operations and its spending, student spending impact, and the alumni impact. This added income was equal to approximately 6.7% of the local gross regional product.

In summary, Eastern Arizona College promotes economic growth in the Graham County Community College District in a variety of ways. The College is an employer and buyer of goods and services, and the living expenses of students from outside of the district benefit local businesses. In addition, EAC is a primary source of higher education to local residents and a supplier of trained workers to the region.

“The College provides a solid return on investment for Graham County residents,” said EAC President Mark Bryce. “It is also a hub of cultural development and lifelong learning for students both young and old. From rich fine arts programs and competitive athletic teams to the Wellness Center and many other activities, EAC has much to offer residents of Graham County and beyond.”

“It is built into our mission statement that ‘the College will help individuals acquire knowledge and skills that will enhance their abilities to think, feel, act, and enjoy’” continued Bryce. “This study confirms what we already knew, that EAC represents a tremendous value to local citizens both from an economic and social perspective.”