For nearly 100 years, St. Petersburg College has been a valuable and accessible resource for those seeking a better life for their families and professional growth. Since we enroll over 43,000 students each year in our degree and short-term training programs, there’s a good chance that you or others you know have a SPC degree or certification – or maybe be from St. Petersburg Junior College. But what you may not know is the profound effect CPS has on the economic value of Pinellas County, the Tampa Bay area and beyond.
Recently, SPC engaged the data analysis advisers Emsi to perform an economic impact analysis, based on 2019-2020 data. Emsi, a national leader in labor market data studies, performs analysis for colleges and universities across the country. At CPS we already knew we were doing the right things, but the report findings really tell the story of the impact we are having on our students by providing them with pathways to economic opportunity, and on our community, through to the improved health, safety and well-being that comes with an educated citizenship.
The research revealed how much, in dollars, the College of St. Petersburg gives back to the community. In the 2019-2020 fiscal year alone, the SPC added $ 2.3 billion in revenue to the Tampa Bay area economy, which represents approximately 1.3% of the Gross Regional Product (GRP) of the region. Zooming in on Pinellas County, the college added $ 1.2 billion in revenue to the county’s economy, or roughly 2.2% of the county’s total GRP.
Additional results include:
· SPC alumni contribute over $ 950 million in additional revenue to the county.
· For every $ 1 that supports SPC, the community earns $ 8.40 in additional income and social savings.
· SPC’s operating expenses added $ 163.8 million to county revenues.
One of the main takeaways is that SPC builds a talented workforce and our students tend to stay in Pinellas and the Tampa Bay area after graduation. This adds great economic value to our entire region. In fact, the report showed that SPC and our students are responsible for 17,547 jobs in Pinellas and 30,000 in the regions. This means that one in 36 jobs at Pinellas can be attributed to the efforts of the College of St. Petersburg.
The numbers also show that our average graduate with an associate’s degree will earn almost $ 12,000 more each year than someone with a high school diploma or the equivalent. That number is skyrocketing to an additional annual income of $ 28,500 per year with a bachelor’s degree. SPC offers 17 bachelor’s degrees in business, education, health services, public safety and many more.
The results certainly confirmed our belief that the work done by our faculty, staff and students lives up to our visionary commitment to providing a great education that prepares our students for the high paying jobs that keep our community going.
Behind these numbers are thousands of citizens who have improved their lives and the lives of their families – and their communities – through education. From the nurse picking you up at the local hospital, to your child’s teacher, to the firefighter arriving on the scene, these are the faces of St. Petersburg College. As we approach our 100th anniversary in 2027, I am proud to share the impact of a community college on our daily lives.
You could laugh
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Tonjua Williams is the President of St. Petersburg College, Florida’s oldest community college. A native of St. Petersburg, she serves on the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges and is an alumnus of the inaugural class of the Aspen Presidential Fellows.