It’s hard to measure the value that Barton Community College has on the Golden Belt, but a study commissioned by the college attempts to do just that.
The executive summary of the study’s final report notes, “The overall effect of Barton on the Barton Service Area business community during the analysis year amounted to $94.1 million, equal to the sum of the college operations effect and the student productivity effect. This added income was equal to approximately 3.4 percent of the Barton Service Area’s Gross Regional Product.”
The college provides education for area residents, which leads to a better trained workforce. In fact, BCC provides a steady flow of trained workers in the medical field, and to many other employers. The students benefit by securing better jobs that translate into more earning. That leads to more spending at local businesses, which creates more jobs. According to the study, the equivalent of 310 jobs in town exist to service the needs of the thousands of people who take classes here. Great Bend may have more restaurants and motels because of the number of people who travel here for industrial training, for example.
According to the study, $17.9 million that state and local taxpayers invested in BCC in 2012-13 had a return of $384.7 million in benefits, while contributing to a healthier, happier community with less crime.
Not a bad return.