Sandy Odorzynski (Economics)
College’s economic impact on county tops $120 million
A new survey on the county-wide economic impact of St. Norbert estimates that the college contributes $121.5 million per year to Brown County’s economy. In addition, the survey concludes that the college generates 1,238 local jobs.
Sandy Odorzynski (Economics) undertook the study, called “The Economic Impact of St. Norbert College on Brown County, Wis.,” as a sabbatical project during the spring semester of 2012. She analyzed internal financial records and used sophisticated research methods to answer the question, “What economic activity is generated in the local economy due to the presence of St. Norbert College?” Odorzynski gathered additional data through surveys conducted in cooperation with David Wegge, director of the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute.
The pair expected that the college’s impact would be significant, but Odorzynski says she was surprised by just how strong it is.
“These impact studies not only capture the direct impact, but also the indirect impacts, which are involved with the multiplier effects that ripple through the community. The collective activities of our employees spending their money in local communities, our students spending their dollars in local communities, add up to a significant amount of money.
“We create more than 1,200 jobs in Brown County. Our total economic impact is $121.5 million, which emanates from an operating budget of about $60 million. So these ripple effects are very strong.”
Among other findings:
- The college directly generates a total of $38.8 million in labor income. For every $1 of labor income created by St. Norbert, another $0.46 is generated in the county. The result is a total labor income for the area of $56.5 million.
- St. Norbert College employees and students performed 92,972 hours of volunteer service in Brown County during the 2011-12 academic year.
An abstract of the survey is available online.
At a press conference announcing the release of the survey, President Tom Kunkel said: “We’re in the business of education and information, and one of the reasons I was excited about this project was, this is something we talk about – the impact of the college – but few [institutions] really do step back and try to quantify that. It’s just good information to know. I think a lot of times when we talk about economic development, we’re focusing on what’s around the corner. It’s just a helpful reminder to all of us that sometimes the best job creators we have are the companies and institutions that are already here and putting a lot of money into the community.”