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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Texas Community Colleges:Capital Region

Public community colleges serve a vital role in our state’s economy by training our workforce and preparing students for further academic study. Created specifically to expand access to higher education, they’re also notable for filling the specific educational and vocational needs of their service areas.

Regional Overview

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts divides the state into 12 economic regions. The Capital economic region — 10 counties covering about 8,600 square miles in central Texas — has one community college district, Austin Community College District. The region is home to about 2.1 million people, or nearly 8 percent of the state’s population.

Regional Economic Impact

In 2020, the Comptroller’s office requested financial data from Texas’ 50 community college districts and conducted statewide and regional studies of their economic impact. Our analysis predated the COVID-19 crisis and the economic impacts that followed. The Capital region’s only community college district, Austin Community College (ACC), reported revenues of $387.1 million in fiscal 2018, which produced an additional $304.7 million in indirect and induced economic activity for a total impact of $691.8 million annually. More than 5,300 jobs are supported by the region’s community college spending. Under normal economic conditions, every dollar spent by community colleges produces an additional 79 cents of economic activity, while every dollar spent on compensation produces an additional 27 cents of total income to the state economy (Exhibit 1).

Exhibit 1 Estimated Economic Impact of the Capital Region’s Community Colleges, 2019

Estimated Economic Impact of the Capital Region’s Community Colleges, 2019
Indicator Direct Indirect Induced Total Total Multiplier
Employment 4,044 464 797 5,305 1.31
Output $387.1 million $134.0 million $170.7 million $691.8 million 1.79
Compensation $314.6 million $32.9 million $52.1 million $399.6 million 1.27

Output refers to the intermediate and final economic values of goods and services. Induced impact refers to the jobs, sales/output and compensation created when new employees spend their wages at local establishments. Figures may not sum due to rounding.

Sources: JobsEQ, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and Texas community colleges


Our model represents a conservative estimate. Other studies, including one conducted by this agency in 2008 and another by Emsi in 2015, have applied a broader view of the economic ripple effects of a community college education and found considerably greater impact.

Employment and Wages

In general, the region’s computer, restaurant and construction industries have seen the highest growth in employment during the last five years. The Capital region has seen consistent growth in its top occupations since 2014, adding almost 16,000 jobs in computer occupations alone. In addition, the food and beverage service industry gained nearly 14,500 jobs and the construction trade more than 10,000 jobs.

The region’s most significant occupations are shown in Exhibits 2 and 3, first by location quotient (which measures an industry’s proportionate concentration in a region versus its concentration in the U.S. as a whole), and secondly by numeric growth during the last five years.

Exhibit 2 Top Occupations in the Capital Region by Location Quotient, 2014 to 2019

Top Occupations in the Capital Region by Location Quotient, 2014 to 2019
Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Wages LQ Number Unemployed Unemployment Rate Five-Year Employment Change
Computer Occupations 56,718 $90,900 1.7 972 1.6% 15,876
Drafters, Engineering Technicians and Mapping Technicians 8,006 $57,900 1.53 155 2.2% 333
Media and Communication Workers 8,369 $64,800 1.49 178 1.9% 1,098
Architects, Surveyors and Cartographers 2,378 $85,700 1.46 33 1.2% 330
Electrical and Electronic Equipment Mechanics, Installers and Repairers 6,556 $47,300 1.45 131 2.2% 676

Figures may not sum due to rounding. Data are as of Q3 2019 except for wage data, which represent covered employment in 2018.

Source: JobsEQ


Exhibit 3 Top Occupations in the Capital Region by Numeric Growth, 2014-2019

Top Occupations in the Capital Region by Numeric Growth, 2014-2019
Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Wages LQ Number Unemployed Unemployment Rate Five-Year Employment Change
Computer Occupations 56,718 $90,900 1.7 972 1.6% 15,876
Food and Beverage Serving Workers 68,897 $24,600 1.2 3,339 4.7% 14,487
Construction Trades Workers 47,502 $40,700 1.12 2,117 4.5% 10,011
Business Operations Specialists 42,359 $74,200 1.06 1,084 2.3% 9,397
Information and Record Clerks 48,122 $34,300 1.1 1,653 3.3% 7,987

Figures may not sum due to rounding. Data are as of Q3 2019 except wage data, which are for covered employment in 2018.

Source: JobsEQ


Wages by Educational Attainment

Community colleges deliver a particularly good return on investments of time and tuition. In the Capital region, workers with some college or associate degrees and with stable jobs — defined as those employed with the same firm throughout a calendar quarter — earn an average of $4,606 more annually than high school graduates (Exhibit 4).

Exhibit 4 Average Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment, Capital Region and Texas, 2018

Average Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment, Capital Region and Texas, 2018
Educational Attainment Number Employed, Region Average Annual Earnings, Region Number Employed, Texas Average Annual Earnings, Texas
Less than high school 150,223 $41,802 2,065,483 $42,808
High school or equivalent, no college 225,543 $45,878 2,765,759 $52,035
Some college or associate degree 283,327 $50,484 3,245,675 $60,428
Bachelor’s degree or advanced degree 246,365 $68,165 2,454,975 $95,716
Educational attainment not available 126,221 $22,583 1,544,282 $22,087
Total 1,031,680 $48,423 12,076,174 $58,787

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and JobsEQ


The increase in wages alone for those workers adds an additional $1.31 billion in direct compensation to the state economy each year (Exhibit 5) — almost three times the total spending of ACC, the region’s only district.

Exhibit 5

Total Annual Regional Earnings Increase, Some College or Associate Degree versus High School or Equivalent, 2018

Employed, Some College or Associate Degree:

283,327

Average Earnings Increase Beyond High School or Equivalent:

$4,606

Total Regional Earnings Increase:

$1.31 billion

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, JobsEQ and Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

The wage effect is particularly noteworthy given an average annual tuition for ACC of just $2,550 per year and the modest two-year educational commitment required for an associate degree.1 The highest-paying jobs for associate-degree holders in Texas are in the energy/utility, management, professional services, trade and manufacturing sectors.2

More Degrees Needed

While the region’s new graduates and certificate holders enter the workforce in large numbers, demand for some degrees still outpaces supply. Broadly speaking, these award gaps are largely in health professions, followed by personal and culinary services, security services, computer and information sciences and engineering technologies.

The Capital region’s community college districts awarded more than 1,900 certificates and associate degrees in health professions in the 2017-18 school year; the next most-common award areas were business administration, general studies and liberal arts and other trades (Exhibit 6).

Exhibit 6Top 10 Certificates and Degree Awards in the Capital Region’s Community College, 2017-18 School Year

Top 10 Certificates and Degree Awards in the Capital Region’s Community College, 2017-18 School Year
Certificates and Degrees Number Awarded
Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences 1,946
Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services 1,556
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities 1,176
Personal and Culinary Services 849
Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services 489
Security and Protective Services 247
Engineering Technologies/Technicians 216
Skilled Precision Production of Leather, Metal or Wood Products 173
Visual and Performing Arts 169
Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 134

Source: JobsEQ

Capital Community College Overview

The Capital region’s one community college district provided technical and academic coursework for more than 38,000 students in the 2017-18 school year (Exhibit 7).

Exhibit 7 Capital Region Community Colleges Overview, 2017-18 School Year

Capital Region Community Colleges Overview, 2017-18 School Year
Community College District Enrollment Awards Average Tuition and Fees Academic Share of Students Enrolled Technical Share of Students Enrolled Enrolled or Employed, Academic* Enrolled or Employed, Technical*
Austin Community College District 38,362 4,407 $2,550 70.8% 29.2% 90.4% 86.6%

*The percentage of academic or technical graduates employed in the fourth quarter of the calendar year after graduation and/or enrolled in a Texas two- or four-year institution in the following fall after graduation, as specified.

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board


Austin Community College District

  • In response to labor market demands, ACC began offering the only associate degree in entrepreneurship within a 50-mile radius in Fall 2018.3
  • ACC will partner with KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, to offer paid internships and job training for digital media and communications students at a new facility scheduled to open in 2020.4
  • In response to a critical nursing shortage in Central Texas, ACC launched its first bachelor’s degree program in Fall 2018 to allow registered nurses to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.5
  • With $1.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Labor, ACC is partnering with IBM with a goal of training 350 apprentices at IBM during four years beginning in 2019.6
  • Thanks to a grant from JP Morgan Chase, ACC is expanding its Career ACCelerator Program, which offers students a self-paced training schedule, to add tracks in IT, healthcare and manufacturing beginning in Fall 2019.7
  • ACC is partnering with Toyota Motor North American to provide military personnel with a focused Technician Training and Education network program starting Spring 2020.8

Conclusion

Community colleges play a vital role for students and businesses by offering postsecondary education and job training at great value. As ACC, the Central Texas region’s only community college district, works to address local skills gaps and meet the specific needs of area employers, it supports more than 5,300 jobs and adds almost $692 million in economic output annually. Furthermore, the higher pay of those with some college or an associate degree helps raise total wages in the region by more than $1.3 billion per year.


End Notes

Links are correct at the time of publication. The Comptroller's office is not responsible for external websites.

  1. Calculated from data in Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, THECB Texas Public Higher Education 2019 Almanac, Spring 2019.
  2. Based on data provided by JobsEQ.
  3. Emma Freer, “Austin Community College Board Approves New Entrepreneurship Program,” Austin Community College Newsroom (February 6, 2018).
  4. Austin Community College, “ACC and KLRU Launch New Partnership at ACC Highland,” June 7, 2018.
  5. Austin Community College, “ACC to Launch First Bachelor’s Degree Program Fall 2018,” June 18, 2018.
  6. Sydney Pruitt, “ACC and IBM Partner to Launch New Apprenticeship Program in Central Texas,” Austin Community College Newsroom (September 20, 2019).
  7. Sydney Pruitt, “ACC Awarded $250,000 to Build Apprenticeships in High-Demand Programs,” Austin Community College Newsroom (September 21, 2019).
  8. Austin Community College, “Automotive Technology and Outdoor Powered Equipment,”.

Questions?

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