While SFCC has always recognized that alumni strengthen the local economy, now an independent study by Emsi (Economic Modeling Specialists Intl) shows just how good an investment the college is for the whole community – students, taxpayers, businesses and employers.
Emsi examined the economic impact of fiscal year 2015 through 2016. The report indicates that thousands of former students currently employed in the regional workforce added $169.1 million in income during the analysis year.
President and CEO of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce Simon Brackley said, “Clearly, this new study demonstrates that investment in higher education and in SFCC pays off in terms of preparing students for local careers, generating taxes and fees, and providing the skills needed by local employers.”
A Degree for a Lifetime
For SFCC graduates, certificates and diplomas open the doors to a lifetime of enhanced earnings. Many graduates continue their studies to obtain bachelor’s and master’s degrees (and many do that at the Santa Fe Higher Education Center in midtown). The study, which looked at the Santa Fe Public School District, revealed the following career mid-point salaries:
- less than a high school diploma: $20,500
- high school diploma: $26,900
- certificate: $31,000
- associate degree: $35,000
- bachelor’s degree: $46,200
Knowing the advantages of additional education, SFCC prepares students for transfer to four-year degree programs. Earning an associate degree at SFCC before transfer saves students thousands of dollars, as much as $10,000 in some cases. The college is also committed to meeting the workforce demand of Northern New Mexico in the area of middle-skill jobs. These middle-skill jobs represent the largest gaps in the state’s workforce. According to a 2017 National Skills Coalition report, middle-skill jobs account for 51 percent of New Mexico’s labor market.
“Obtaining more skills is the single biggest determinant of future economic prosperity. SFCC is the largest skills provider in Santa Fe,” Brackley said.
“Construction, health care and film are three examples of industry sectors that are growing fast in the area, and SFCC is working hard to educate local young people with the skills required for success,” Brackley added. “Soft skills and financial literacy are also critically important to local employers and SFCC is responding to this need.”
The overall impact of the college on the local business community during the analysis year amounted to $220.1 million in added income — a contribution nearly as large as the entire construction industry in the region, according to Emsi. The top job sectors that SFCC impacted were health care and social assistance.
Lillian Montoya, president and CEO of CHRISTUS St. Vincent Regional Medical Center said, “CHRISTUS St. Vincent has always been proud to partner with SFCC. This partnership has allowed many students to gain the skills and education necessary to become part of the growing health care field.”
Montoya added: “The impact and reach of the college on the local economy cannot be underestimated. CHRISTUS St. Vincent worked with the SFCC to provide students with valuable tools to further their health care education and careers.”
SFCC’s Health Sciences Center, which was partially funded by (CHRISTUS) St. Vincent, contains a high-tech SimLab, the largest purpose-built Medical Simulation Center in New Mexico. The SimLab is a medical training center that features interactive high-fidelity human patient simulators that talk, breathe, bleed, and one even gives birth. Three rooms are configured with seven monitored patient care bays and a centralized control room, as well as current patient care equipment including life support systems, IV pumps, hospital beds and crashcarts. The 4,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility serves students studying Nursing, Respiratory Care, Phlebotomy, Medical Assisting, Dental Assisting and Emergency Medicine/Paramedicine. The SimLab provides workforce development and annual competency training for community healthcare professionals including medical/surgical nurses, ICU nurses, respiratory therapists, certified nursing assistants, residents and physicians. Its cutting-edge technology provides experiential learning to enhance skills in patient care, safety and communication.
An additional approach to support local economic health is a partnership between SFCC’s Continuing Education Department and Innovate+Educate’s Santa Fe Advance Initiative. The college launched a survey to determine local needs for workforce training. The goal is to gather information from the community to develop and deliver tailored workforce training and professional development to assure a qualified and prepared workforce.
In summary, Brackley said, “SFCC has tremendous impact both socially and economically to the Santa Fe area and is itself a major local employer.”