Graduates of Elgin Community College earn nearly $600,000 more over their career than those who did not complete an associate degree or long-term certificate, according to a new study from the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB). The return on investment for a student pursuing their education at ECC is 28 percent, above the statewide average of 26.8 percent.
"This study enforces what we know to be true – community colleges, and in particular ECC, are vital to our community's ability to grow its workforce, increase the overall education of our citizens, and ensure that the residents of District 509 are prepared to meet the growing needs of employers – both those that are here now and those that are looking to come to the Elgin area to grow and thrive," said David Sam, PhD, JD, LLM, president of Elgin Community College.
The ICCB's 2020-21 study of Illinois' 48 community colleges, which account for $3.5 billion in economic impact, evaluates both individual colleges and the entire community college system, examining the ability to meet the needs of business and industry, equity, student outcomes, student return on investment, and the overall economic impact of community colleges to local economies and job growth.
The total impact of ECC on the local economy exceeds $123 million in economic output, which includes more than $67 million in operating expenditures during fiscal year 2020 and more than $30 million in wages and benefits to 949 employees.
When it comes to local employment trends and job availability, the study found that in District 509, there is a strong demand for truck drivers, registered nurses, and sales occupations. Additionally, occupations like manufacturing, transportation, warehousing, and health care have shown double-digit growth over the last decade.
ECC is well prepared to meet this demand.
In addition to interacting with 324 unique employers for curriculum and apprenticeship development, training, professional development, and job placement for graduating students in the last year, the study identified ECC programs that are primed for growth in the next decade, like paralegals, medical imaging, web developers, and physical therapist assistants, projected to experience job growth of nearly 50 percent.
Pertaining to student success, other findings in the report reveal that:
- 84.3 percent of ECC program completers were employed within one year of graduation, an increase of four percent from 2009.
- After ten years, the median salary for graduates of ECC's career and technical education programs is $54,294. This represents an annual income growth of about 18 percent and matches the statewide average of $54,516.
- Post-secondary enrollment for ECC graduates has decreased over the last decade, with only 65.5 percent enrolling in a four-year degree program within a year of completion from ECC. The statewide average is between 60 – 65 percent.
- For transfer students, 10 years after completion of their bachelor's degree, the median salary is $49,476, representing a 6.4 percent increase each year. This median is higher than the statewide average of $48,972.
"This study is another key indicator of the important work and innovation that needs to continue with our community leaders, legislators, and industry partners," said Sam. "In order to adapt to our changing workforce trends, we need to be agile and responsive to the needs of our residents and employers. ECC is committed to continuing to lead in its role as a key driver in economic development."
To read the complete study is visit the ICCB website.