Colorado Northwestern Community College adds $80.2 million to regional economy |

Colorado Northwestern Community College adds $80.2 million to regional economy

Fast facts • For every $1 spent by CNCC students, they gain $3.20 in higher future earnings. • For every $1 spent by taxpayers to support CNCC operations, they gain a return of $2 in benefits. • For every $1 spent by society on CNCC, society will receive a cumulative value of $6 in benefits. Source: Analysis of the Economic Impact and Return on Investment of Education main report for the economic value of Colorado Northwestern Community College.

CRAIG — Thirteen community colleges in Colorado generated nearly $6 billion — equal to approximately 2.0 percent of the Gross State Product — for the economy in 2016 and supported nearly 100,000 jobs, according to a study released Tuesday.

The study was commissioned by the Colorado Community College System, of which Colorado Northwestern Community College is a part, and performed by Emsi, a leading provider of economic impact studies and labor market data to educational institutions, workforce planners and regional developers in the U.S. and abroad.

The study also analyzed the impact of each college on the region it serves, determining that Colorado Northwestern Community College contributed $80.2 million, an amount greater than that contributed by agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industries combined.

“It’s amazing what an education can do and how that helps not only our communities here in Northwest Colorado, but also the state,” said CNCC President Ron Granger.

For every dollar society spent on CNCC education during the analysis fiscal year 2015-16, society will receive an cumulative value of $6 in benefits for as long as that year’s CNCC students remain active in Colorado’s work force, the study found. Further, society will also benefit to the tune of $3.7 million in present value social savings related to reduced crime, lower unemployment and increased health and wellbeing across the state.

“When people are educated, you’re not having welfare and unemployment, so it helps the state to invest money in other ways,” Granger said. “That’s a big thing.”

The study did not examine the economic impact of CNCC on individual counties or cities, and there’s a reason for that.

“We have students here that might take online classes, so I might not know which county that they are in,” Granger explained.

It’s also not entirely clear how new on-campus housing in Craig would influence the future local economic impact of the college.

“For the economy for Moffat County and Craig, it is a little difficult to say,” Granger said. “But the more people you have in Craig, the better the economy you’ll have. So, our purpose is to build our resident halls and our programs, so that people want to come and we have a place to put them, to benefit the college, Craig and Moffat County.

The full economic impact report is available on the college system website at, along with links to separate reports for each community college in the system, correlated to the specific region.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or

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