Emily Griffith Economic Impact Packs a Powerful Punch

By Caitlin Hendee for Denver Business Journal | The Emily Griffith Technical College has an annual $62.3 million economic impact on the Denver region, according to a new economic analysis report produced by Denver-based BBC Research & Consulting.

"Emily Griffith has been doing of this for 100 years," said Jeff Barratt, executive director of the college. "People don't realize the impact of these middle-skill jobs and how important they are to the Colorado. We train people with short-term training to get them jobs right away because they need those jobs to produce income for their families."

The report, measured by looking at the earnings gains of the average 7,000 students who attend the school annually, found that EGTC coursework resulted in $42.5 million in increased student earnings. The resulting economic and human capital impact over the course of the past 10 years adds up to a total $2.2 billion in economic impact, the report says.

"I know we've had an impact on Denver, but we needed to prove it," Barratt said. "[The report] not only helps validate the type of training that technical schools do, but it also validates those middle-skill jobs.

"With employers, when they look at Emily Griffith, they get people right away to work with the relevant skills you need as an employer," he added. "We're suppling a much-needed pipeline for the economy in Denver."

In general, Colorado workers gain $9,222 in annual earnings with a high school degree or GED and another $6,242 with some college or an associates degree, according to the American Community Survey, which is made of data produced by the U.S. Census Bureau.

"Education is both a personal investment and a social investment as it provides well-documented benefits both to the individuals receiving the education and to society as a while," the report notes.

The report also looked at EGTC's impact from a non-monetary, social aspect. It found that, like other colleges, EGTC students are less likely to use social programs, take advantage of higher levels of employer provided health insurance, contribute taxes to the state's economy, have a reduced likelihood of incarceration and are more likely to volunteer.

"The fact that getting them off the street and into these entry levels...and pathways...to higher positions, I think it creates an opportunity to get out of that cycle," Barratt said. "We give them that immediate skill and the opportunity to 'up-skill' from there.

"When people are employed they tend to not go down paths that lead to incarceration and substance abuse. It just eliminates those societal issues that come up," he added. "It also benefits the family. The children see the parents and say, 'OK, my parents are doing it, they're working, so why shouldn't I?'"

The Emily Griffith Foundation commissioned the report.

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Caitlin Hendee is digital producer and social engagement manager for the Denver Business Journal and covers education. Email: chendee@bizjournals.com. Phone: 303-803-9226.