RVARC The Economic Impact of the Roanoke Higher Education Center on the Regional Economy

RVARC The Economic Impact of the Roanoke Higher Education Center on the Regional Economy

The Roanoke Higher Education Center opened ten years ago with a vision of serving the workforce
training and higher learning needs of the region by providing the regionfs residents with convenient access
to educational opportunities.
The opening of the Center was the culmination of ten years of efforts to meet workforce training and
higher learning needs in the Roanoke region and a capital campaign that resulted in over $19 million of
local, state, federal, historic tax credits, and private capital to renovate the former Norfolk and Western
Railroad headquarters. Since opening, 5,901 students have completed programs offered by the institutions
operating in the Center. The Center itself has become a catalyst for downtown redevelopment and for the
revitalization of the Gainsboro neighborhood.
With its ten year anniversary approaching, the Center commissioned this study by the Roanoke Valley h
Alleghany Regional Commission to quantify the economic benets and overall contribution to the region
of its annual operation. Staff of the Roanoke Valley h Alleghany Regional Commission worked with staff
from the Roanoke Higher Education Center to eld an institutional survey and surveys of current students
as well as alumni. The results were used to derive an estimated direct impact that was then entered into a
regional input-output model to determine the indirect and induced impacts represented by the economic
stimulus introduced by the RHEC.
The Roanoke Higher Education Center and the operations of its institutional members directly support
103.1 jobs throughout the regional economy. The induced and indirect impacts add an additional 35.4
jobs. The total impact of the Centerfs operations and those of its institutional members represents a
$13.4 million dollar impact on regional sales (output).
The spending of students induced through participation at the Centerfs programs adds an additional
$2.3 million and supports roughly 35 service sector jobs.
Finally, the survey sought to quantify the increase in personal earnings attributable to completion of one of
the Centerfs academic programs. The spending of these increased earnings among alumni who remain in
the region contributes an additional $16 million and over 135 jobs.
The total impact is an annual stimulus of nearly $32 million. This activity supports nearly 310 jobs
earning an average of $35,142 per year. This is quite an impressive impact considering that it is generated
from a base of $9 million, which represents the total budget of the Center and the budgets of its
institutional memberfs operations within the Center.
Ten years ago, the Roanoke Higher Education Center opened its doors to its rst class of students. The
opening of the Roanoke Higher Education Center was the culmination of over ten years of efforts to meet
workforce training and higher learning needs in the Roanoke region. A total of $19 million from state,
local government, federal and state historic tax credits, and private capital were used to transform the
former headquarters of the Norfolk and Western Railroad, a 1931 Art Deco building, into a state-of-the-
art facility for learning.
Programs at the Roanoke Higher Education Center serve a variety of people each with their own
educational goals from adults needing job training and retraining and lifelong learning opportunities to
undergraduate and graduate instruction.
The Roanoke Higher Education Center has been a cornerstone of downtown development and
revitalization of the historic Gainsboro Neighborhood. It is a key asset in the regionfs overall economic
development strategy.
With its ten year anniversary approaching, the Center commissioned this study by the Roanoke Valley h
Alleghany Regional Commission to quantify the economic benets and overall contribution to the region
of its annual operation. Staff of the Roanoke Valley h Alleghany Regional Commission worked with staff
from the Roanoke Higher Education Center to eld an institutional survey and surveys of current students
as well as alumni. The results were used to derive an estimated direct impact that was then entered into a
regional input-output model to determine the indirect and induced impacts represented by the economic
stimulus introduced by the RHEC.
The following pages seek to quantify the impact and contributions of the Roanoke Higher Education
Center upon the Roanoke Region.
Surveys were produced by the Roanoke Higher Education Center and by the Roanoke Valley h Alleghany
Regional Commission working collaboratively. The Roanoke Higher Education Center led efforts to
develop the institutional survey and the Roanoke Valley h Alleghany Regional Commission staff primarily
undertook development of student and alumni surveys. The institutional survey was distributed by
Roanoke Higher Education Center staff to its members directly providing educational services within the
Centerfs structure. Members were asked to report nancial and enrollment information. Members were
also asked to promote completion of the student and alumni surveys through their mailing lists.
Institutional surveys were completed by Averett University, Blueeld College, James Madison University,
Hollins University, Mary Baldwin College, Old Dominion University, Radford University, TAP /This
Valley Works, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Western Community College. In
addition, 193 responses were collected from program completers at the Higher Education Center, and 262
responses were collected from current students of the Center.
The study area for this analysis was dened as the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is composed
of the Counties of Botetourt, Craig, Franklin, and Roanoke; and the Cities of Roanoke and Salem.
Survey responses from institutions were used to determine the amount of funds attracted from outside
the region by the institutional members. Budgets for members whose main locations are outside the MSA
were included in the direct effect because attendance by local students in these schools amounts to import
substitution in that those individuals are spending local dollars on higher education services locally that
would otherwise leave the region if the Center were not operating. Survey responses from alumni were
analyzed specically to determine the increase in wages experienced by those who took advantage of
educational programs at the Center. Survey responses from current students were analyzed to determine
direct spending impacts on local businesses in the retail and service sectors directly as a result of attendance
in programs at the Center.
The IMPLAN economic impact model for the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area (using 2007
IMPLAN data for the study region and utilizing Social Accounting Matrix multipliers) was employed
to estimate the amount of regional economic activity originating and resulting from operation of the
Roanoke Higher Education Center.
IMPLAN (IMpact Analysis for PLANning) is an economic input-output modeling software package
rst developed jointly by the University of Minnesota and the US Forest Service in the 1970fs and later
expanded upon by the Minnesota IMPLAN Group. The modeling software and the IMPLAN proprietary
data set is currently maintained by the Minnesota IMPLAN Group, a private company based in Stillwater,
Minnesota. IMPLAN is widely used by a number of universities, economic consultants, economic
development professionals, and others involved in estimating economic impacts of programs and events.
IMPLAN models the ow of expenditures through industries and institutions of a regional economy that
result after an initial economic stimulus is made in a given economy. More information on the IMPLAN
model and data set can be obtained at http: / /www.implan.com.
1 Those institutions located outside of the immediate study area which also operate in the Roanoke Higher Education Center allow
local residents to utilize of higher educational services locally rather than traveling to another region to utilize those same services.
This gimport substitution activity is enabled solely by the operation of the Roanoke Higher Education Center and are therefore
counted towards the Centerfs impact.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *