Positive economic impact of Red Deer College

Date posted: 
Tue, 03/06/2018
Joel Ward

Red Deer College creates a significant positive impact on central Alberta. RDC recently commissioned EMSI (an economic impact data analytics company) to conduct an economic impact study to determine the economic value of Red Deer College to our region and the province. The study shows that RDC creates value in many ways. The results measure the economic impacts on the regional economy and the benefits that the College generates for the investments made by its key stakeholder groups – students, society in general, and taxpayers.

The last economic impact study for RDC was completed in 2013. The preliminary report is based on an improved model, and I am happy to report that new data indicates RDC has an even greater economic contribution compared to the last study.

Here are the highlights:

Benefits to the Economy
During the analysis year 2015-16, RDC and its students added $533 million – compared to the $327 million reporting in 2013 – in income to the Central Region economy. This is equal to approximately 4.4% of the region’s total gross regional product (GRP). RDC’s impact supported 7,133 jobs in the Central Region. This means that one out of every 20 jobs in the Central Region is supported by the activities of RDC and its students.

College payroll amounted to $63 million, a portion of which was spent in the Central Region supporting regional businesses by purchasing a variety of goods and services. The College spent another $33 million to support its day-to-day operations – cleaning, facilities maintenance, etc. The net impact of College payroll and expenditures toward day-to-day operations in the Central Region was approximately $92 million in added regional income.

These numbers demonstrate the very real impacts that our students, faculty and staff have on our region, leading to local businesses benefitting through increased spending in central Alberta. It means that our graduates enter the region’s workforce with the education, skills and training needed to enhance the economy and add immediate value to the agencies and businesses who hire them. Many start their own businesses, creating new jobs in our region, as well.

Benefits to Students
Students who graduate with a two-year diploma will see an average increase of $17,800 per year over a high school graduate. With a degree, it is $29,100. And finally, for every dollar spent by students or their families, they can expect a return of $5.60 in higher future earnings. A very good return indeed.

Benefits to Society

Finally, for society in general, education is statistically correlated with a variety of lifestyle changes that generate social savings across three main categories: health, crime and income assistance. Overall, society’s investment of $162 million in RDC will result in a significant return. For every dollar of this investment, society as a whole in Alberta will receive a cumulative value of $11.90 in benefits.

RDC acts as an accelerator to business, and it is an innovation hub with our downtown Donald School of Business, our Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing, and our soon to be opened Alternative Energy Lab.

Clearly, the attainment of an advanced education ensures significant benefits for society and great value for students and taxpayers.

This column was first published in the Red Deer Advocate on Saturday, February 24, 2018.