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KCTCS has $2.3 billion impact on state’s economy


When people hear about an organization adding billions to the state’s economy, how many would immediately think of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS)? Probably not many. A new study, however, shows KCTCS, its students and alumni add $2.3 billion to Kentucky’s economy each year. This is equal to approximately 1.2 percent of the gross state product of Kentucky. By comparison, this contribution is slightly larger than the entire utilities industry in the state.

Overall, the $2.3 billion impact supports 37,389 jobs, which means one out of every 68 jobs in Kentucky is supported by the activities of KCTCS colleges and their students. The top three business segments affected are manufacturing, health care and construction.

KCTCS payroll and day-to-day spending add $370.1 million to Kentucky’s economy each year, enough to buy 11,028 new cars.

There’s good news for students, too. For every dollar students invest in their education at KCTCS, they earn a return on investment (ROI) of $5.80. Additionally, the study shows taxpayers receive an ROI of $3.40 and society benefits $8.40 in added state revenue and social services savings for every dollar invested in KCTCS.

The study was conducted in the fall of 2017 by Emsi, a leading provider of economic impact studies and labor market data. Results of the analysis reflect fiscal year 2015-16. The study demonstrates that KCTCS colleges create value from multiple perspectives. The colleges benefit local businesses and the state’s economy by:

  • increasing consumer spending in the state and supplying a steady flow of qualified, educated people into the workforce;
  • enriching the lives of students by raising their lifetime earnings and helping them achieve their individual potential;
  • benefitting state taxpayers through increased tax receipts across the state and a reduced demand for government-supported social services;
  • benefitting society as a whole in Kentucky by creating a more prosperous economy; and
  • generating a variety of savings through the improved lifestyles of students.

A statewide system of colleges is an efficient and cost effective way to deliver higher education to Kentuckians. Without a system, it is estimated that KCTCS colleges would need an additional $50 million in funding and more than 800 additional staff to provide the same level of services.

For more information on how KCTCS is improving the lives and employability of Kentuckians, visit

Article written by KSR