DUBLIN — Since its establishment more than 47 years ago, Bladen Community College has served a vital role in the economy of Bladen County and the surrounding area.
According to a recent study of the economic impact of the college on its service area, BCC’s direct monetary contribution is significant. Moreover, the long-term benefits the college provides to residents of the county are far-reaching and life changing.
Last year the college, along with several other colleges in the North Carolina Community College System, commissioned Economic Modeling Specialists to perform evaluations of the impact of their institutions on the communities they serve. That analysis revealed some eye-opening information about BCC’s contributions to its service area. The evaluation was based on data for 2012 -13, but could be generally applied to measure the ongoing impact of the college on the community.
BCC President William Findt points out that, according to the study, BCC’s direct contribution to the local economy impacts businesses and industries throughout the area. For example, during the study year, the total payroll for the full- and part-time faculty and staff was $10 million. Eighty four percent of those employees reside in Bladen County. The college spent another $6.2 million from the state aid, county funding, grants, financial aid, and the revenue for facilities supplies and services.
The total income created for the day-to-day expenses of the college was $11.8 million, which represents the spending of the college and its employees in added income to the area.
Findt emphasizes that according to the study, a primary benefit of the college to the area is in the form of the savings represented by the improved lives of students who have earned their skills through the colleges programs. For example, he points out that the three main areas these savings are realized are: health, positive lifestyle, and employment. The latter is of particular importance due to the savings realized in reduced demands for income assistance and other welfare programs.
Based on a conclusion reached in the study, Findt states that the college’s greatest economic value to the county comes in the form of the education, skills training, and career enhancement it provides to its students. Thousands of current Bladen County residents are employed in the Bladen service area in skills they gained as a result of education and training they received at BCC.
He says that the impact of current and past BCC students on the productivity of the area “is tremendous.” Student productivity includes higher wages and the number of skills students acquire from BCC.