Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 19, 2017

Community colleges great investment

By Rich Taylor | Mar 02, 2017

We must do more to help create good-paying jobs in Iowa.

Employers tell me that we don’t have enough skilled workers to fill the increasing number of available jobs. Community colleges have stepped up to help Iowa meet the need.

Many of the jobs of the future will require at least a bachelor’s degree, some college, a certificate or an associate’s degree. In Iowa, 68 percent of Iowa jobs will require education and training beyond high school by the year 2025, according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education & the Workforce. That’s 3 percent above the national average.

I’m a strong supporter of Iowa’s community colleges because they are a solid investment for students and the state. A newly released study, Analysis of the Economic Impact & Return on Investment of Education, found that in 2015 alone, Iowa’s community colleges contributed $5.4 billion to the state’s economy and supported 107,170 jobs — roughly 6 percent of all jobs in Iowa.

The study also found that:

• Current and former students generated $4.6 billion in added income for the state, which is equivalent to supporting 87,905 jobs.

• For every $1 invested in Iowa’s community colleges, taxpayers gained $3.50 in added state revenue and savings.

• For every $1 students spend on their community college education, they see an average annual return on their investment of more than 25 percent.

• Those who complete an associate’s degree will see, on average, $418,000 more in earnings than someone with a high school diploma.

I’m proud of the great work our community colleges are doing, and disappointed that that Republicans recently cut $3 million from their budgets midyear. We have to make jobs and job training a priority to move our state forward.


– Sen. Rich Taylor represents Henry and Lee counties and portions of Washington and Jefferson counties.

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