BEND, OR -- A new study on community colleges shows COCC has a positive impact on Central Oregon’s economy, sending $289.6 million to Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson counties in the 2021-22 fiscal year, and supported over 35 hundred jobs.
“The overall impact is a great return on investment for the community," says Michael LaLonde, COCC’s Vice President of Finance and Operations, “For every dollar spent on the community college. The return to the community is about $6, which is massive.”
LaLonde tells KBND News a variety of local industries and businesses are bolstered by COCC graduates, “Manufacturing, retail, real estate, quite a few different things. There's a list of about 25 different industries that are supported with our graduates. Once they get a degree from here.”
COCC supports one out of every 43 jobs in the tri-county region. “Our graduates on average, make about $8,000 more per year compared to a high school grad. And over the course of their career, that equates to about $280,000,” LaLonde says, “So that helps the community, it helps spending in the community and the multiplier effect of that type of earnings is significant. And that's where we get the close to $300 million impact on the three counties.”
$300-million is about 2% of Central Oregon's gross regional product.
The study has been conducted for 20 years, but this is the first time it's included COCC alumni information which allowed for more data to be compiled, according to LaLonde.