News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Daniel Wackershauser, Marketing Specialist
Phone: 608.822.2303
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date of Release: January 29, 2020

Southwest Tech’s economic impact nearly $160 million to the region

Fennimore -

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College’s economic impact to the region it serves tops $153.9 million annually, says a report from Emsi, an Idaho-based analytics firm. That economic impact number may seem significant, but Southwest Tech President Jason Wood and the college’s leadership is looking for ways to increase it in future years with input from district residents.

“We’ve made it a strategic priority as a campus to reach out proactively to our constituents in an attempt to find new and innovative ways to increase our economic impact in our five-county district,” Wood said. “We are heartened by the results of this study, but it has also challenged us to strengthen our partnerships with the many businesses, school districts, organizations, alumni and friends we work with in order to grow our impact strategically.”

A strategic priority team has been assembled at Southwest Tech with a purpose of educating the public through presentations throughout the district in 2020. These 5- to 10-minute presentations serve two purposes: One, to inform district residents and elected officials about how Southwest Tech’s existence positively enhances life in Grant, Iowa, Lafayette, Crawford and Richland counties; and, two, to collect information from these constituencies about ways Southwest Tech can increase its economic impact throughout the district.

“By working together, we can create win-win scenarios in each of the communities we serve because increasing Southwest Tech’s economic impact has a direct, positive effect on our district,” Wood added.

The highlights of the report include several interesting findings:

  • Among non-education sectors, Southwest Tech supported the most jobs in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry sector | 1,142 jobs in FY 2017-18.


  • Southwest Tech added $159.3 million in income to the Southwest Wisconsin economy during fiscal year 2017-18.


  • Southwest Tech’s total impact can also be expressed in terms of jobs supported. The $159.3 million impact supported 2,996 regional jobs. This means that one out of every 24 jobs in Southwest Wisconsin is supported by the activities of Southwest Tech and its students.


  • In academic year 2017-18, Southwest Tech served 7,547 students. The total investment made by Southwest Tech’s students in fiscal year 2017-18 amounted to a present value of $23.2 million, equal to $7.6 million in out-of-pocket expenses (including future principal and interest on student loans) and $15.6 million in forgone time and money.


  • Southwest Tech adds economic value through its operations, as a regional employer and large-scale buyer of goods, the reports adds. In fiscal year 2017-18, the college employed 488 full- or part-time faculty and staff, 86 percent of whom live in Southwest Wisconsin.


  • In return for their investment, Southwest Tech’s students will receive a stream of higher future earnings that will continue to grow throughout their working lives. For example, the average Southwest Tech associate degree graduate from FY 2017-18 will see an increase in earnings of $8,400 each year compared to a person with a high school diploma or equivalent working in Wisconsin. Over a working lifetime, the benefits of an associate degree over a high school diploma will amount to an undiscounted value of $327,600 in higher earnings per graduate.


  • Return on investment for Southwest Tech students and taxpayers who support the college is very positive, Emsi reports. “For every dollar students invest in Southwest Tech, in the form of out-of-pocket expenses and forgone time and money, they will receive a cumulative value of $4.40 in higher future earnings,” the Emsi report said. Annually, the students’ investment in Southwest Tech has an average annual internal rate of return of 20.1 percent, which is impressive compared to the U.S. stock market’s 30-year average rate of return of 10.1 percent, the report added.


  • Southwest Tech generates more in tax revenue than it takes. These benefits to taxpayers consist primarily of taxes that the state and local government will collect from the added revenue created in the state. As Southwest Tech students will earn more, they will make higher tax payments throughout their working lives. Students’ employers will also make higher tax payments as they increase their output and purchases of goods and services. By the end of the fiscal year 2017-18 students’ working lives, the state and local government will have collected a present value of $34.3 million in added taxes.


  • Total taxpayer benefits amount to $36.7 million, the present value sum of the added taxes and public sector savings. Taxpayer costs are $18.8 million, equal to the amount of state and local government funding Southwest Tech received in fiscal year 2017-18. These benefits and costs yield a benefit-cost ratio of 2.0. This means that for every dollar of public money invested in Southwest Tech in FY 2017-18, taxpayers will receive a cumulative value of $2.00 over the course of the students’ working lives.


  • From a social perspective, Wisconsin benefits from the presence of Southwest Tech in two major ways. Primarily, society benefits from an increased economic base in the state. This is attributed to higher student earnings and increased business output, which raise economic prosperity in Wisconsin. Benefits to society also consist of the savings generated by the improved lifestyles of Southwest Tech students.


  • Altogether, the social benefits of Southwest Tech equal a present value of $369.9 million. These benefits include $363.4 million in added income through students’ increased lifetime earnings and increased business output, as well as $6.5 million in social savings related to health, crime, and income assistance in Wisconsin. People in Wisconsin invested a present value total of $50.8 million in Southwest Tech in fiscal year 2017-18. The cost includes all the college and student costs. For every dollar invested in Southwest Tech, people in Wisconsin will receive a cumulative value of $7.30 in benefits. The benefits of this investment will occur for as long as Southwest Tech’s fiscal year 2017-18 students remain employed in the state workforce.


  • Emsi concluded “the results of the analysis demonstrate that Southwest Tech is a strong investment for all three major stakeholder groups—students, taxpayers, and society. As shown, students receive a great return for their investments in a Southwest Tech education. At the same time, taxpayers’ investment in Southwest Tech returns more to government budgets than it costs and creates a wide range of social benefits throughout Wisconsin.


“The results of this study demonstrate that Southwest Tech creates value from multiple perspectives. The college benefits regional businesses by increasing consumer spending in the region and supplying a steady flow of qualified, trained workers to the workforce. Southwest Tech enriches the lives of students by raising their lifetime earnings and helping them achieve their individual potential. The college benefits state and local taxpayers through increased tax receipts and a reduced demand for government-supported social services. Finally, Southwest Tech benefits society as a whole in Wisconsin by creating a more prosperous economy and generating a variety of savings through the improved lifestyles of students.

About the study

Emsi is a labor market analytics firm that integrates data from a wide area of sources to serve professionals in higher education, economic development, workforce development, talent acquisition and site selection. For the Southwest Tech report, Emsi pulled data from fiscal year 2017-18 academic and financial reports from Southwest Tech, industry and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau, outputs of Emsi’s Multi-Regional Social Accounting Matrix model, and a variety of studies and surveys relating education to social behavior. The study applies a conservative methodology and follows standard practice using only the most recognized indicators of economic impact and investment effectiveness.

“Anyone who would like a copy of the economic impact study Emsi completed for Southwest Tech can download it from our website (,” Wood said. “We are hoping, by working together, we can think creatively and find new ways to improve Southwest Tech’s economic impact on our district.”

The executive summary of the report can be read or downloaded at

Additional information can also be found at

| Southwest Wisconsin Technical College is one of 16 institutions that comprise the Wisconsin Technical College System. Southwest Tech offers more than 60 programs in a wide variety of disciplines. Courses are offered on campus, online and in a blended format. The college provides apprenticeship, certificate, technical diploma, and associate degree programs that respond to district workforce needs and prepare student for family-sustaining jobs and career advancement. |

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