College put $317 million into Junction
Mesa State College directly and indirectly infused an estimated $317 million into the community in 2009 and 2010, according to a report released Monday by the school.
That’s an increase of 40 percent from the college’s economic impact in 2007 and 2008.
The college’s Regional Economic Impact report found the college spent $15 million on goods and services in western Colorado and nearly $5 million on goods and services elsewhere in the state in 2009 and 2010.
The college also doled out $71 million for capital expenditures, such as the new College Center and remodeled Saunders Fieldhouse (now the Maverick Center) in those two years, with $50 million of that being spent locally.
It’s also estimated in the report the college’s 1,500 employees and thousands of students (enrollment is now at 8,131) spent $18.3 million and $85.7 million, respectively, in 2009 and 2010.
Having Mesa State in Grand Junction “is a major economic driver,” said Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Diane Schwenke.
Many small business owners received their education from the college, she said, and plenty of others have gone to or returned to school to become more marketable members of the work force.
Having a degree does make a difference in today’s job market, Schwenke said, and Mesa State students and graduates alike fit well in local businesses.
“We at the chamber have used Mesa State interns for marketing and to help with social media, and we’re not alone,” Schwenke said.
In addition to the money the college invests in the community and degrees it confers to meet local work force needs, Grand Junction Economic Partnership President and Chief Executive Officer Ann Driggers said Mesa State is valuable for recruiting new businesses to the area.
Driggers said the number one thing companies looking to move to Grand Junction seek is a well-trained work force, and a college’s presence in town helps convince them workers will be able to meet their needs.
“They look at the kinds of programs offered, the quality of the campus and investment and future plans for the institution,” Driggers said.
When companies she talks to learn Mesa State has invested $71 million in capital recently, she said “they’re rightfully blown away.”