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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:Metroplex 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 Metroplex economic region — 19 counties covering about 15,600 square miles in northern Texas — has eight community college districts: Collin County Community College District, Dallas County Community College District, Grayson College, Navarro College, North Central Texas College, Tarrant County College District, Trinity Valley Community College and Weatherford College. The region is home to about 7.4 million people, or more than 27 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 Metroplex region’s eight community college districts reported revenues of more than $1.11 billion in fiscal 2018, which produced an additional $835.3 million in indirect and induced economic activity for a total impact of $1.95 billion annually. More than 14,300 jobs are supported by the region’s community college spending. Under normal economic conditions, every dollar spent by community colleges produces an additional 75 cents of economic activity, while every dollar spent on compensation produces an additional 34 cents of total income to the state economy (Exhibit 1).

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

Estimated Economic Impact of the Metroplex Region’s Community Colleges, 2019
Indicator Direct Indirect Induced Total Total Multiplier
Employment 10,752 1,193 2,368 14,312 1.33
Output $1.11 billion $343.0 million $492.3 million $1.95 billion 1.75
Compensation $698.8 million $85.3 million $152.7 million $936.8 million 1.34

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 restaurant industry, material moving workers, and computer occupations 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. The Metroplex region has seen an uptick in sales representatives adding almost 18,600 jobs to the region, while the region’s air transportation industry added almost 5,000 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 Metroplex Region by Location Quotient, 2014 to 2019

Top Occupations in the Metroplex Region by Location Quotient, 2014 to 2019
Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Wages LQ Number Unemployed Unemployment Rate Five-Year Employment Change
Air Transportation Workers 18,779 $110,200 2.65 99 0.5% 4,977
Electrical and Electronic Equipment Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers 22,837 $49,000 1.48 554 2.5% 1,442
Sales Representatives, Services 76,050 $73,500 1.36 2,015 2.6% 18,566
Extraction Workers 7,707 $43,500 1.33 401 4.9% -3,402
Helpers, Construction Trades 8,003 $32,400 1.3 615 7.2% -157

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 Metroplex Region by Numeric Growth, 2014 to 2019

Top Occupations in the Metroplex 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 203,231 $22,300 1.03 11,896 5.6% 32,971
Material Moving Workers 141,458 $32,600 1.1 8,699 5.9% 27,940
Computer Occupations 136,708 $93,800 1.2 2,610 1.9% 27,841
Business Operations Specialists 129,793 $76,000 0.95 3,483 2.6% 24,748
Construction Trades Workers 151,510 $39,900 1.05 8,273 5.2% 23,915

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 Metroplex 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 $5,338 more annually than high school graduates (Exhibit 4).

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

Average Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment, Metroplex Region and Texas, 2018
Educational Attainment Number Employed, Region Average Annual Earnings, Region Number Employed, Texas Average Annual Earnings, Texas
Less than high school 538,481 $41,304 2,065,483 $42,808
High school or equivalent, no college 790,302 $47,257 2,765,759 $52,035
Some college or associate degree 967,689 $52,595 3,245,675 $60,428
Bachelor’s degree or advanced degree 835,104 $71,607 2,454,975 $95,716
Educational attainment not available 450,929 $21,399 1,544,282 $22,087
Total 3,582,505 $50,105 12,076,174 $58,787

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and JobsEQ


The increase in wages alone for those workers adds an additional $1.1 billion in direct compensation to the state economy each year (Exhibit 5) — nearly five times 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:

967,689

Average Earnings Increase Beyond High School or Equivalent:

$5,338

Total Regional Earnings Increase:

$5.1 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 the region’s community colleges of $2,321 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, business administration and security services.

The Metroplex region’s community college districts awarded more than 14,000 certificates and associate degrees in general studies and liberal arts in the 2017-18 school year; the next most-common award areas were health professions, business administration and other trades (Exhibit 6).

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

Top 10 Certificates and Degree Awards in the Metroplex Region’s Community Colleges, 2017-18 School Year
Certificates and Degrees Number Awarded
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities 14,150
Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences 7,290
Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services 3,852
Personal and Culinary Services 2,990
Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians 2,489
Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services 1,548
Security and Protective Services 1,119
Engineering Technologies/Technicians 1,010
Skilled Precision Production of Leather, Metal or Wood Products 679
Education 545

Source: JobsEQ

Metroplex Community College Overview

The Metroplex region’s eight community college districts provided technical and academic coursework for nearly 190,000 students in the 2017-18 school year (Exhibit 7).

Exhibit 7 Metroplex Region Community College Overview, 2017-18 School Year

Metroplex Region Community College 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*
Collin County Community College District 32,846 3,488 $1,520 64.1% 35.9% 93.8% 91.5%
Dallas County Community College District 72,918 11,571 $1,770 72.0% 28.0% 92.5% 86.2%
Grayson College 4,284 901 $3,114 63.7% 36.3% 86.8% 90.9%
Navarro College 8,463 1,545 $2,430 81.0% 19.0% 87.8% 89.5%
North Central Texas College  10,171 1,106 $2,730 72.9% 27.1% 90.8% 89.5%
Tarrant County College District 48,252 6,419 $1,770 80.5% 19.5% 92.4% 91.9%
Trinity Valley Community College 6,562 1,908 $2,640 62.0% 38.0% 90.4% 91.2%
Weatherford College  6,284 995 2,590 80.2 19.8 84.7 88.8

*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

Collin County Community College District

  • In fiscal 2018, Collin College added $721.2 million in income to the Collin County economy, equal to about 1.1 percent of the gross product of Collin County.
  • Collin College supported 10,863 local jobs, or one out of every 58 jobs in Collin County.
  • The average Collin College associate degree graduate will see an increase in earnings of $11,000 each year compared to a high school graduate or equivalent working in Texas. 3
  • Collin College received a $3.76 million grant to address the critical need for IT workers by providing up-to-date, future-facing skills standards.
  • Collin College established a partnership with the Collision Careers Apprenticeship Pilot Program, which gives recognition and credibility to Collin College’s new automotive collision technology program and is also opening additional partnership opportunities with local employers such as Service King and Axalta.
  • In 2011, Collin College’s nursing program was the first in Texas to be designated by the National League for Nursing as a Center of Excellence in nursing education, and it has maintained that designation. Collin College will offer baccalaureate degrees in nursing (BSN) beginning in January 2020. 4

Dallas County Community College District

  • Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) expanded its newly renamed Culinary, Pastry, and Hospitality program, which provides hands-on training with experienced professionals to help students start careers in Dallas’ world-class culinary scene. 5
  • In collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the global nonprofit Generation, DCCCD’s Richland College offers the AWS re/Start program, which prepares students in IT fundamentals and introductory cloud skills. 6
  • DCCCD’s logistics programs at Cedar Valley College and North Lake College put students on a path to a permanent and successful career in Dallas’ growing transportation industry. 7

Grayson College

  • In fiscal 2013, Grayson College added $306.6 million in income to the local business economy, equal to about 0.1 percent of the gross regional product.
  • The average Grayson College associate degree graduate will see an increase in earnings of $13,100 each year compared to a high school graduate or equivalent working in Texas.
  • The viticulture and enology program at Grayson College, which maintains a three-acre vineyard, an extensive wine laboratory and an instructional winery, prepares students for careers at commercial vineyards and wineries. 8

Navarro College

  • Navarro College’s John Deere TECH program trains new service technicians to work with John Deere’s entire line of products while giving students hands-on experience including lab work and internships at John Deere dealerships. 9
  • Navarro College’s paralegal studies program prepares students to work in the legal field and meet the growing demand for qualified paralegals in the region and nationwide. 10
  • Navarro College’s award-winning cosmetology students gain experience and give back to the Corsicana community by providing a full selection of hair and beauty services to residents at a discounted price. 11

North Central Texas College

  • In partnership with the Texas Workforce Commission, North Central Texas College (NCTC) will offer a new training program, Navigating Apprenticeships in Industrial Learning, which will give students the basic construction knowledge to enter a variety of fields with excellent pay. 12
  • To support a growing field, NCTC’s Adult and Continuing Education division is offering online courses to help students gain the knowledge to earn or maintain a real estate agent license. 13
  • NCTC’s sustainable horticulture plan allows students to learn from industry professionals and earn certificates that can lead to a career in fields such as greenhouse management, public garden management and sustainable agriculture. 14

Tarrant County College District

  • Medical City Healthcare’s new partnership with Tarrant County College’s (TCC’s) nursing program will allow current employees to earn nursing credentials at TCC paid for by Medical City Healthcare. 15
  • TCC’s construction management technology program teaches students about construction concepts related to the building process and project management to begin or further a career in the industry. 16
  • TCC partners with DFW Airport to ensure a sustainable and effective workforce by training employees in areas including public safety, communication, business writing, safety and maintenance, contract management and more. 17

Trinity Valley Community College

  • The Small Business Development Center at Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC) helps local entrepreneurs succeed in Texas’ business-friendly economy by offering free research and consulting services. 18
  • To help students enter the high-demand medical field, TVCC partners with Palestine ISD to allow high school students to earn 60 college credits and an emergency medical technician certificate while completing high school. 19
  • TVCC’s Workforce Education Division offers Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) programs, including night courses, to help students start careers in the growing HVAC field. 20

Weatherford College

  • To meet demand for industrial maintenance technicians, Weatherford College is developing a program in industrial maintenance and automation technology with a grant from the National Science Foundation with the first courses offered in Fall 2019. 21
  • In partnership with Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter, Weatherford College plans to offer a new veterinary technician program to help students begin or advance careers in the animal care industry beginning August 2020. 22
  • In response to high-demand career fields, Weatherford College plans to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing beginning Fall 2020 and organizational leadership beginning Fall 2021. 23

Conclusion

Community colleges play a vital role for students and businesses by offering postsecondary education and job training at great value. As the Metroplex region’s eight community college districts work to address local skills gaps and meet the specific needs of area employers, they support more than 14,000 jobs and add nearly $2 billion 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 $5 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. Emsi, “The Economic Value of the Collin County Community College District: Executive Summary,” (PDF) August 2019. .
  4. Email communication from Kim Davison, chief of staff, Collin College, December 20, 2019.
  5. Alex Lyda, “Dallas Culinary Education and Training Takes Big Leap Forward in 2020 with El Centro Program Expansion,” Dallas County Community College District (December 17, 2019).
  6. Malcolm Hornsby, “Richland College Students Graduate from AWS re/Start,” Dallas County Community College District (October 31, 2019).
  7. Debra Dennis, “Cedar Valley College Students Learn That Logistics Drives the Future of Warehousing, Transportation and Inventory,” Dallas County Community College District (August 7, 2019).
  8. Grayson College, “Viticulture and Enology.”
  9. Navarro College, “John Deere Tech Program.”
  10. Navarro College, “Paralegal Studies Program.”.
  11. Guy Chapman, “Navarro Cosmetology Classes Provide Beauty Services,” Corsicana Daily Sun (October 18, 2019).
  12. Megan K. Jefferson, “NCTC Offers New Training Program,” North Central Texas College (November 21, 2019).
  13. Angel Fitzpatrick, “Take Online Real Estate Courses When You Want, Where You Want,” North Central Texas College (January 16, 2019).
  14. North Central Texas College CareerFocus, “Nurturing Nature: Horticulture Celebrates the Delicate Side of Life,” Spring 2019.
  15. Tarrant County College, “Medical City Healthcare Addressing Nursing Shortage by Paying Employees to Earn Degree at TCC,” December 9, 2019.
  16. Alexis Patterson, “On the Move: Construction Management Technology Graduate Builds a Better Future,” Tarrant County College (October 31, 2019).
  17. Reginald Lewis, “Taking Flight: DFW Airport Investing in Employees through Partnership with TCC,” Tarrant County College Reach Magazine (Spring 2019).
  18. Lisa Tang, “TVCC Ready to Serve Small Business Owners,” Palestine Herald-Press.
  19. William Patrick, “Texas City Offers HS Students Basic EMT, Firefighter Certification Options,” Palestine Herald-Press (May 2, 2019.
  20. Trinity Valley Community College, “Evening HVAC Program Added,” December 28, 2017.
  21. Weatherford College, “National Science Foundation Awards WC Robotics Grant,” July 10, 2019.
  22. Rick Mauch, “New Veterinary Technician Program to benefit Weatherford College, Animal Shelter,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram (August 9, 2019).
  23. Rick Mauch, “Weatherford College Now Can Offer Four-Year Degrees at a ‘Fraction of the Price,’” Fort Worth Star-Telegram (December 27, 2019).

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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