A study on the economic impact of Oregon’s community colleges found that Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) supported 645 jobs in the region in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, adding about $45 million to the local economy. In fact, the contribution the college provided on its own is as large as the entire Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation industry in the region.

The study was conducted by Lightcast, a labor analytics firm, on behalf of the Oregon Community College Association. Statewide, the report showed that Oregon’s 17 community colleges generate an impressive annual economic impact of $9.6 billion and support 1 out of every 22 jobs in the state.

“The economic and social impact of CGCC is visible every day across our community and our economy. But seeing it born out in this new report quantifies and drives home the very real value CGCC delivers across the region”, says Dr. Kenneth Lawson, the college president.

The Lightcast study notes students see a high rate of return for their investment in higher education at CGCC. The average CGCC associate degree graduate from FY 2021-22 will see annual earnings that are $7,000 higher than a person with a high school diploma or equivalent working in Oregon. Over a working lifetime, the benefits of the associate degree from COCC over a high school diploma will amount to $308,000 in higher earnings per graduate.

"Offering students a pathway to high-paying careers means our students realize high return on their investment”, adds Lawson. “And that in turn benefits their families, our community, and the entire regional economy.

The full report “The Economic Value of Columbia Gorge Community College” is available for download on our website (below).

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Study Results & Documents