Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) recently completed a province-wide study into the impact of Alberta’s colleges on taxpayers, students, and society. Eleven colleges took part in the study, including Edmonton’s NorQuest College.
EMSI’s report was very positive, showing a $4.8 billion impact (which translates to 43,520 jobs) made by the colleges over the 2015-2016 season.
Albertans with a college diploma earn, on average $49,500/year by the midpoint of their careers, which is $17,300 more than Albertans whose education stopped with a high school diploma.
The benefits are not all monetary, either. Communities across the province with post-secondary grads in the workplace benefit from lower crime rates, lower need for income assistance, and greater physical and mental wellbeing. These societal benefits translate into $7.30 for every $1 invested in college.
One of the reasons for the great societal benefits is that a college diploma changes the graduate’s mindset. EMSI reports that the students felt “enriched” and that their education “helped them realize their potential.” The increased cash flow graduates experience from being able to secure good paying jobs means more spending in the community. The spending stimulates the economy and further raises the wellbeing of the families that can enjoy a more secure lifestyle. Local industries with ready access to college graduates benefit from a flow of qualified, trained workers. The colleges themselves are a source of employment, with on-site new construction contributing $24.3 million in income for the province.
According to the EMSI report, “The enhanced skills of well-trained college students make the businesses that hire them more productive. The top industries impacted by Alberta colleges are health care & social assistance (~$1.2 billion), public administration (~$771 million), utilities (~$437 million), real estate and rental and leasing (~$239 million), and professional scientific and technical services (~$226 million).”
Alberta colleges’ individual initiatives further benefit the communities they serve. Here in Edmonton, the 1000 Women Child Care Centre, located on the NorQuest College campus, is thrilled to be one of the spaces offering $25/day child care.
“We are extremely thankful to join other early learning and child care centres in our city in providing this service,” said Dr. S. Ann Colbourne, chair, NorQuest College board of governors. “We extend our appreciation to the provincial government for recognizing the need and supporting early learning child care centres in Alberta.”
The 1000 Women Child Care Centre offers 56 spaces for children aged 12 months to five years. The Centre benefits the children of NorQuest College students and is also open to the community. Students with children in the Centre may qualify for up to a $500 bursary to help offset the childcare expenses. The Centre helps parents achieve their goal of higher education, thanks to an on-site, safe, affordable childcare solution, and it also functions as a hands-on learning venue for students in NorQuest College’s Early Learning and Child Care program.
Alberta’s colleges have a very positive impact on their communities, students, workforce, and the province. To learn more about the EMSI study, visit bit.ly/2w6drIa (infographic) and bit.ly/2jmpl7m. To learn more about NorQuest College’s 1000 Women Child Care Centre, visit bit.ly/2xgomOm.