New Economic Impact Report Shows Georgian College Alumni Add $1.4 Billion To Regional Economy

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Thomas Cowden, President of the Muskoka Builders’ Association and owner-operator of Cowdens General Contracting says having Georgian College located locally in Bracebridge is good for the community.

Georgian alumni contribute $1.4 billion in added income to the region, according to a recent economic impact study by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI).The EMSI study, based on data from 2019-20, shows that Georgian’s Muskoka Campus adds $6 million in income to the District Municipality of Muskoka economy, the equivalent of 81 jobs. Overall, alumni from this campus add $4.6 million to the district’s economy.

“This study quantifies the economic value of Georgian and the significant return on investment for our students, employers and the communities we serve,” said Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO of Georgian College. “Georgian students contribute to the local economy while studying and generate longer-lasting impact as alumni, many of whom will choose to make Muskoka and surrounding area their home – they are essential to the success of our local employers, regional economy and they also serve as catalysts for social innovation.”

Chris Madden, founder and president of Tamarack North Ltd. located in Port Carling, hires many Georgian alumni and apprentices from skilled trades programs. About 20 to 30 per cent of his 120-member workforce obtained their General Carpenter Apprenticeship licence from Georgian’s Muskoka Campus located in Bracebridge.

As someone who specializes in home construction, Madden knows a few things about building community.

“When you’re building a community, you need many things in place, like churches, schools, banks, grocery stores and recreational opportunities,” said Madden. “And if you didn’t have a community college you’d be missing a critical component for your community to be as successful as it can. It allows people to get an education locally and hopefully stay in the community once they’ve graduated.”

He encourages all his newly hired carpenters to enrol in Georgian’s apprenticeship program. “It gives our employees a classroom environment to learn about safety and all the skills – how to handle tools, cutting stairs, cutting rafters – essentially learn everything about the trade so when they come back to the site they can apply their knowledge. It also gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment to achieve the certification – it’s a moment in their life they can look back to as a big achievement.”

Madden added that the close proximity between work and school is critical. “When they can live at home and not disrupt the family unit, they’re more willing to get the licence.”

Whether retaining area residents or attracting new workers to the region, Thomas Cowden, President of the Muskoka Builders’ Association (MBA) agrees that having a local college is good for the community, especially the membership, which includes Tamarack and over 100 other businesses.

“With Georgian, residents have the opportunity to get training right here in our community,” said Cowden. “It’s great to hire locally.”

Georgian’s economic impact by the numbers

Looking at the impact in the Town of Bracebridge specifically, the campus and its students add $2 million in income, supporting 23 local jobs. Student spending adds $151, 000 to the local economy and the impact of alumni currently employed in the workforce is $822,100.

For every $1 a student invests in their education at the Muskoka Campus, they’ll gain $1.90 in lifetime earnings. At the same time, taxpayers will gain $2.90 in added tax revenue and public sector savings, and society will benefit from an additional $6.10 in added income and social savings.

Overall, Georgian College campuses contribute $1.7 billion in income to the Georgian catchment area economy, approximately 5.3 per cent of the total gross regional product. This equates to 22,752 regional jobs, or one out of every 15 jobs in the catchment area. Student spending adds $64.4 million in income, while alumni impact accounts for $1.4 billion!

Economic impact data specific to all seven campus communities that Georgian College serves is available at GeorgianCollege.ca/EconomicImpact.

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