WILLMAR—Ridgewater College contributes more than $170 million to the region’s economy, according to a study by the Minnesota State system of public colleges and universities.
The study indicates the college also contributes 1,456 jobs to the area, according to a news release from Ridgewater.
“At Ridgewater College, our top priority is the success of our students and alumni, but our college also plays a vital role in both the state and regional economies,” Craig Johnson, president of Ridgewater College, said in the news release. “The economic activity generated by the college and its faculty, staff and students impacts every corner of our regional economy, including education, housing, hospitality, child care services and retail.”
The study was commissioned by Minnesota State and conducted by Parker Philips, a consulting firm specializing in economic impact analysis.
The study considered direct spending by the college and students at Ridgewater’s Willmar and Hutchinson campuses plus the estimated increase for businesses that supply the college. According to the study, in addition to jobs supported by the college, its impact can be measured in jobs created by businesses in the community. That includes suppliers and contractors that work with the college and jobs in other businesses that serve employees, students and visitors.
The study also calculated tax revenues generated by economic activity at all levels, from sales taxes to corporate taxes. Ridgewater is estimated to generate $9.7 million in state and local tax revenues.
Another factor considered in the study is the value of increased productivity by students who earn degrees at Ridgewater. The study assumes additional state revenue of $5.9 billion over the 40-year work life of the college’s graduates.
“Ridgewater’s contribution to the regional economy increases with every graduating class,” Johnson said. “Our graduates gain productivity improvements from their education that will last throughout their entire career.”
The economic contribution from Minnesota State’s 37 colleges and universities is about
$8 billion according to the study. The colleges generate about 67,717 jobs across the state.
The report for Ridgewater College is available at https://www.ridgewater.edu/economic-impact/
West Central Tribune by Linda Vanderwerf