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Monday, February 19, 2018

DCC's economic impact is enormous

Guest Opinion By Craig Anderson

Too often we take for granted and do not appreciate what we have until it is lost. Such is the case with Dawson Community College. State funding for DCC is under attack by some legislators in Helena. As we fight to secure our college’s future, let’s take a moment to appreciate and not take for granted the economic impact DCC has on our local economy.

The college’s annual budget and expenditures are roughly $8 million. Approximately $3 million of that is paid in salary to employees of the college.

The economic impact of the college goes beyond just DCC’s budget and expenditures. The college’s students are also contributing to our local economy. One needs to understand the discretionary spending of our students. Estimates vary on what college students spend based on the source. For the sake of discussion, let’s say the average student spends approximately $1,200 per month or $14,400 per year. If DCC has 165 full time equivalent (FTE) students spending $14,400, that will yield $2,367,000 annually for our local economy. Nationally, the top three spending categories for college student discretionary spending are food, clothing and technology.

We all need to understand and appreciate the economic impact DCC has on our local economy. Contemplating the loss of DCC should send shivers down the spine of every business in town. People are motivated to change not by being comfortable but by being uncomfortable. We should all be extremely uncomfortable with what the Montana legislature is attempting to do to our community.

The marketplace determines business winners and losers. Now is the time to appreciate DCC. Now is not the time to take DCC for granted! Remaining silent while the Montana legislature picks which communities in Montana are winners or losers is chilling.

Craig Anderson is Interim Executive Director of the Dawson County Economic Development Council.

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