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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:Central Texas 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 Central Texas economic region — 20 counties covering about 17,400 square miles in the heart of Texas — has five community college districts: Blinn College, Central Texas College, Hill College, McLennan Community College and Temple College. The region is home to about 1.2 million people, or 4.6 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 Central Texas region’s five community college districts reported revenues of $368.5 million in fiscal 2018, which produced an additional $183.9 million in indirect and induced economic activity for a total impact of $552.4 million annually. More than 5,700 jobs are supported by the region’s community college spending. Under normal economic conditions, every dollar spent by community colleges produces an additional 50 cents of economic activity, while every dollar spent on compensation produces an additional 22 cents of total income to the state economy (Exhibit 1).

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

Estimated Economic Impact of the Central Texas Region’s Community Colleges, 2019
Indicator Direct Indirect Induced Total Impact Total Multiplier
Employment 4,655 215 849 5,719 1.23
Output $368.5 million $47.4 million $136.5 million $552.4 million 1.50
Compensation $231.9 million $10.4 million $40.4 million $282.6 million 1.22

Note: 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 in Texas and found considerably greater impact.

Employment and Wages

In general, the region’s restaurant industry, personal care and retail workers and the healthcare professions have seen the highest employment growth in the last five years. The recent downturn in the oil and gas industries reduced employment in its extraction sector by more than 5 percent. The Central Texas region has seen an uptick in postsecondary education, adding more than 750 postsecondary teachers in the last five years. Food preparation added more than 4,300 jobs, while the region’s health care and social assistance industries added more than 2,200 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 2Top Occupations in the Central Texas Region by Location Quotient, 2014 to 2019

Top Occupations in the Central Texas Region by Location Quotient, 2014 to 2019
Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Wages LQ Unemployed Unemployment Rate Five-Year Employment Change
Postsecondary Teachers 11,441 $82,100 2.52 218 2.0% 754
Extraction Workers 1,460 $41,000 2.06 90 5.1% -474
Other Management Occupations 22,616 $81,200 1.62 228 1.1% 546
Law Enforcement Workers 5,848 $52,300 1.59 56 1.0% -125
Woodworkers 1,401 $29,200 1.57 52 3.7% 202

Note: 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


Exhibit 3Top Occupations in the Central Texas Region by Numeric Growth, 2014 to 2019

Top Occupations in the Central Texas Region by Numeric Growth, 2014 to 2019
Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Wages LQ Number Unemployed Unemployment Rate Five-Year Employment Change
Food and Beverage Serving Workers 28,795 $20,500 1.2 1,853 6.0% 4,394
Other Personal Care,and Service Workers 12,763 $21,400 0.93 602 4.5% 2,210
Retail Sales Workers 29,329 $24,200 1.07 1,729 5.5% 1,990
Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners 18,358 $94,900 1.03 158 0.9% 1,820
Building Cleaning and Pest Control Workers 12,059 $24,100 1.04 595 4.7% 1,635

Note: 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 Central Texas 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 $3,773 more annually than high school graduates (Exhibit 4).

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

Average Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment, Central Texas Region and Texas, 2018
Educational Attainment Number Employed, Region Average Annual Earnings, Region Number Employed, Texas Average Annual Earnings, Texas
Less than high school 66,723 $37,202 2,065,483 $42,808
High school or equivalent, no college 104,529 $41,848 2,765,759 $52,035
Some college or associate degree 117,903 $45,621 3,245,675 $60,428
Bachelor’s degree or advanced degree 79,996 $61,237 2,454,975 $95,716
Educational attainment not available 66,089 $20,528 1,544,282 $22,087
Total 435,240 $43,447 12,076,174 $58,787

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and JobsEQ


The increase in wages alone for those workers adds an additional $444.8 million in direct compensation to the state economy each year (Exhibit 5) — much more than the total spending of the region’s community colleges.

Exhibit 5

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

Employed, Some College or Associate Degree:

117,903

Average Earnings Increase Beyond High School or Equivalent:

$3,773

Total Regional Earnings Increase:

$444.8 million

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

The wage effect is particularly noteworthy given an average annual tuition for the region’s community colleges of just $3,148 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, personal and culinary services, construction trades and education.

Community colleges in the Central Texas region awarded more than 4,600 certificates and associate degrees in general studies and liberal arts in the 2017-18 school year, followed by health professions, business administration and other trades (Exhibit 6).

Exhibit 6Top 10 Certificates and Degree Awards in the Central Texas Region Community Colleges,  2017-18 School Year

Top 10 Certificates and Degree Awards in the Central Texas Region Community Colleges,  2017-18 School Year
Certificates and Degrees Number Awarded
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities 4,678
Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences 1,648
Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services 1,360
Security and Protective Services 745
Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians 739
Engineering Technologies/Technicians 726
Skilled Precision Production of Leather, Metal or Wood Products 553
Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services 475
Personal and Culinary Services 271
Construction Trades 240

Source: JobsEQ


Central Texas Community College Overview

The Central Texas region’s five community college districts provided technical and academic coursework for more than 47,000 students in the 2017-18 school year (Exhibit 7).

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

Central Texas 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*
Blinn College 19,113 2,292 $3,630 87.0% 13.0% 93.2% 93.6%
Central Texas College 9,976 2,255 $2,700 73.3% 26.7% 57.7% 70.6%
Hill College 4,421 701 $2,990 81.7% 18.3% 87.5% 93.6%
McLennan Community College 8,954 1,628 $3,450 73.9% 26.1% 90.6% 93.0%
Temple College 4,910 693 $2,970 87.9% 12.1% 88.4% 92.1%

*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


Blinn College

  • Beginning Fall 2020, the Texas A&M Engineering Academy at Blinn-Brenham will increase the number of students accepted into the engineering program from 100 to 150 students per year, allowing more high-achieving engineering students to pursue their engineering bachelor’s degree while co-enrolled at Texas A&M University and Blinn College.3
  • The health information technology program at Blinn College prepares students for careers such as health information management technicians, coders, documentation specialists, revenue cycle specialists, patient advocates and insurance specialists.4
  • Blinn College offers a unique opportunity for students to enroll in the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Forensic Science Academy, where they receive high-quality forensic technical training, earn 18 college credit hours and are awarded two certificates: the Blinn College Forensic Science Certificate and the TEEX Forensic Investigation & Evidence Management Certificate.5

Central Texas College

  • Central Texas College’s (CTC’s) Computer-Aided Drafting and Design program helps students quickly complete a certificate or degree by learning the competencies common to all drafting and design technicians.6
  • CTC’s Fast Forward program helps military students and veterans by showing them how their military experience can translate to college credit, accelerate their degree plans and provide education and career counseling services.7
  • Office technology programs at CTC prepare students to provide administrative support in a variety of office settings across numerous industries by offering courses in multiple formats including traditional, online and open-entry bookkeeping.8

Hill College

  • Hill College partners with the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) for its automotive and HVAC programs.
  • Hill College’s welding program joined its NC3 partnership through the Lincoln Electric Education Partner Schools welding certification program, which allows students to obtain portable industry certifications in welding safety, shielded metal arc welding, flux-cored arc welding, gas metal arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding.
  • The National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security jointly sponsor Hill College as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.

McLennan Community College

  • McLennan Community College (MCC) added $414.7 million to the regional economy in fiscal 2013, the same amount that 9,270 jobs would generate. This is equal to about 3.9 percent of the MCC service area’s gross domestic product.
  • To meet local business needs, MCC performs program demand gap analysis studies and surveys employers about employability skills.
  • MCC’s computer information systems program recently was designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, aligned with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education Cybersecurity Workforce Framework.
  • MCC’s engineering program, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary, provides a steady stream of well-prepared engineering students to its four-year partners, including Texas Tech University.
  • MCC’s health professions programs (including nursing, radiology, respiratory care, surgical technology, occupational and physical therapy and health information technology) provide most of McLennan County’s health care workers other than doctors.
  • MCC’s corporate training programs have provided millions of dollars in grant-funded training to local industries in the last five years.

Temple College

  • Students studying medicine at Temple College have access to advanced technology such as virtual reality lenses, which provide hands-on practice helping patients in a controlled environment.9
  • The college’s Dental Hygiene Clinic provides students in the dental hygiene program with real patient experience while providing community members with affordable cleanings.10
  • The Texas Bioscience Institute Middle College program offers highly motivated high school students from Central Texas the opportunity to earn up to 60 college credit hours and an associate degree in a STEM-focused foundational curriculum while still in high school.11

Conclusion

Community colleges play a vital role for students and businesses by offering postsecondary education and job training at great value. As the Central Texas region’s five community college districts work to address local skills gaps and meet the specific needs of area employers, they support more than 5,700 jobs and add more than $550 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 nearly $445 million 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. Blinn College District, “Blinn, Texas A&M College of Engineering expand Texas A&M Engineering Academy at Blinn-Brenham to 150 Students,” January 14, 2020.
  4. Blinn College District, “Fall 2019 Blinn Graduate Discovers Second Career through the Health Information Technology Program,” December 17, 2019.
  5. Blinn College District, “Blinn, TEEX Partner to Offer College Credit for TEEX Forensic Science Academy Students,” July 30, 2019.
  6. Central Texas College, “Computer-Aided Drafting & Design.”
  7. “CTC program Helps Students Fast Forward to Careers after Military,” Killen Daily Herald (July 15, 2015).
  8. Central Texas College, “Office Technology,” https://www.ctcd.edu/academics/instructional-departments/office-technology/.
  9. Nohely Mendoza, “FOX 44 Special Report: Using Augmented Reality to Learn,” Fox 44 News (November 12, 2018).
  10. “Dental Hygiene Students Offer Affordable Cleanings, Helping Those without Insurance,” ABC 25 News (September 10, 2018).
  11. Todd Martin, “Local High School Students Complete Texas Bioscience Institute Middle College Program,” Killen Daily Herald (April 13, 2018).

Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material on this page, please contact the Comptroller’s Data Analysis and Transparency Division.

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