As chair of the Finger Lakes Community College Board of Trustees, I would like to thank the Ontario County Board of Supervisors for increasing its annual contribution to the college by 32 percent to $5 million as part of the county budget adopted on Oct. 26.
FLCC’s trustees appreciate the county’s recognition of funding for the college as an investment, not just in the students who attend but the community at large.
Those of us who are familiar with the work of the college see first-hand the broad reach of FLCC in our community. In addition to its 60 degree and certificate programs, the FLCC offers college-level classes in 26 school districts, GED classes, and short-term training programs in health care and advanced manufacturing.
Now, we have a study that puts numbers to the value of FLCC’s operations. Lightcast, a provider of labor market analytics, has recently completed an economic impact study showing FLCC’s annual contribution to the Finger Lakes region, defined as Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Yates counties. The company examined the College’s overall impact, finding it added $197.9 million in income annually to the regional economy, supporting 2,411 jobs.
More than half of that economic impact takes place within Ontario County. Lightcast broke out figures for just Ontario County and found an overall economic impact of $108.5 million, supporting 1,442 jobs.
The study also found that, on average, for every dollar students invested in their FLCC education, they get back $4.90. That is a 17.5 percent rate of return, better than the stock market!
Taxpayers get back $2.40 for every dollar they invest in FLCC in terms of taxes on students’ higher lifetime earnings, increased business output and reduced need for government services.
Put simply, FLCC is a moneymaker: it generates more revenue than it takes in.
This study doesn’t address the value local residents get from free concerts, art shows and the walking trails at the main campus. Or the benefit of FLCC faculty expertise in studying the water quality of the Finger Lakes.
FLCC is among our most significant community resources. The more we invest in it, the greater our return.
Joan Geise is chair of the Finger Lakes Community College Board of Trustees
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