Few would argue that higher education does not have an impact on the students it serves. The same can be said about the impact educating students has on a region. In the case of Ivy Tech in Valparaiso, that impact totals more than $3.9 billion statewide and $73 million regionally.
The college completed a study recently that details the economic impact the regional campus has for the communities it serves, including Porter County and the Duneland area. That regional impact totals $73.8 million for Porter, LaPorte, Starke and Pulaski counties, according to the report prepared by Emsi, a labor market analysis firm hired by the college to complete the study.
The 2020 Ivy Tech Community College Economic Impact Report is based on an analysis of fiscal year 2018-2019. The impact total is a cumulative figure, based on the number of employees who work at the campus, the earning potential of students completing degree programs and the projected local spending and tax revenue.
The average Ivy Tech associate degree graduate from fiscal year 2018-19 was expected to see annual earnings that were $10,100 higher than a person with a high school diploma or equivalent working in Indiana, according to information provided by Ivy Tech in the report.
“One of the main goals for our campus is elevating the wages of our graduates,” said Aco Sikoski, Ivy Tech Valparaiso chancellor. “Clearly, this economic impact report shows the improvements to quality of life for our graduates. It’s proving that what we do for our communities aligns with our mission and vision.”
The school’s top programs include the registered nursing health care specialists, business administration and Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning programs. Students completing these programs often find work in the community, including at Northwest Health – Porter in Liberty Township.
“We consider Ivy Tech to be a top source of job candidates,” said Ashley Dickinson, Chief Executive Officer for the hospital. “We’ve partnered with Ivy Tech to fast track their students through our interview process because we value the caliber of education and training they have received.”
The college also works with many local employers to provide job opportunities for its students. NIPSCO, Cleveland-Cliffs, NLMK, Sullair, NW Health, American Licorice, Renolit, Urschel, Chester, Franciscan Alliance and HealthLinc work with Ivy Tech, said the college’s marketing and communication director Eric Zavinski.
“All of them work with our local campus Career Coaching and Employer Connections department to help place accomplished students in jobs right after graduation,” Zavinski said. “In many cases, students get to work with and learn from employers during their Ivy Tech education.”
According to the economic impact study, students who complete their programs and stay in the community generate economic opportunities for their communities. These opportunities come from the higher salary levels the Ivy Tech alumni earn and increased productivity for the companies that employ them. For 2018-2019, this contribution totaled $54.2 million.
The economic impact of the college is also calculated on how many jobs the college supports in the region. According to the report, the college supported the equivalent of 1,204 jobs and employed 378 full and part time faculty and staff. It also looks at how much student and employees are expected to spend on groceries, mortgages or rent, accommodations, transportation and other expenses.