Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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Texas Community Colleges:Upper East 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 Upper East Texas economic region — 23 counties covering about 16,000 square miles in the northeast corner of Texas — has seven community college districts: Kilgore College, Northeast Texas Community College, Panola College, Paris Junior College, Texarkana College, Trinity Valley Community College and Tyler Junior College. The region is home to about 1.1 million people, or nearly 4 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 Upper East Texas region’s six community college districts reported revenues of nearly $252.5 million in fiscal 2018, which produced an additional $130.1 million in indirect and induced economic activity for a total impact of $382.6 million annually. More than 4,000 jobs are supported by the region’s community college spending. Under normal economic conditions, every dollar spent by community colleges produces an additional 52 cents of economic activity, while every dollar spent on compensation produces an additional 23 cents of total income to the state economy (Exhibit 1).

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

Estimated Economic Impact of the Upper East Texas Region’s Community Colleges, 2019
Indicator Direct Indirect Induced Total Total Multiplier
Employment 3,284 176 610 4,070 1.24
Output $252.5 million $36.3 million $93.8 million $382.6 million 1.52
Compensation $159.0 million $8.6 million $27.7 million $195.3 million 1.23

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, personal care 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 almost 6 percent. The Upper East Texas region has seen increases in the personal care services and food and beverages service industries, adding more than 6,600 jobs to the region.

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 Upper East Texas Region by Location Quotient, 2014 to 2019

Top Occupations in the Upper East Texas Region by Location Quotient, 2014 to 2019
Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Wages LQ Number Unemployed Unemployment Rate Five-Year Employment Change
Extraction Workers 4,135 $43,000 6.02 238 5.6% -1,493
Forest, Conservation and Logging Workers 473 $38,300 2.36 32 6.5% 33
Woodworkers 1,777 $28,100 2.06 76 4.1% 162
Funeral Service Workers 406 $38,400 1.89 17 4.2% 44
Rail Transportation Workers 597 $52,300 1.88 5 0.9% 3

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 Upper East Texas Region by Numeric Growth, 2014 to 2019

Top Occupations in the Upper East Texas Region by Numeric Growth, 2014 to 2019
Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Wages LQ Number Unemployed Unemployment Rate Five-Year Employment Change
Other Personal Care and Service Workers 14,602 $21,400 1.1 743 4.8% 3,606
Food and Beverage Serving Workers 24,031 $20,600 1.03 1,664 6.2% 3,021
Building Cleaning and Pest Control Workers 11,187 $21,900 0.99 595 4.9% 1,347
Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners 17,756 $93,500 1.03 157 1.0% 1,185
Top Executives 7,013 $104,600 0.87 116 1.7% 748

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 Upper East 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 $4,092 more annually than high school graduates (Exhibit 4).

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

Average Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment, Upper East 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 63,355 $35,759 2,065,483 $42,808
High school or equivalent, no college 108,069 $40,140 2,765,759 $52,035
Some college or associate degree 118,258 $44,232 3,245,675 $60,428
Bachelor’s degree or advanced degree 71,975 $59,697 2,454,975 $95,716
Educational attainment not available 55,679 $21,089 1,544,282 $22,087
Total 417,337 $42,167 12,076,174 $58,787

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and JobsEQ

The increase in wages alone for those workers adds an additional $483.9 million in direct compensation to the state economy each year (Exhibit 5) — nearly twice 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:


Average Earnings Increase Beyond High School or Equivalent:


Total Regional Earnings Increase:

$483.9 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 $2,962 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 agriculture, health professions and business administration.

The Upper East Texas region’s community college districts awarded more than 2,600 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, mechanic and repair technologies and other trades (Exhibit 6).

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

Top 10 Certificates and Degree Awards in the Upper East Texas Region’s Community Colleges, 2017-18 School Year
Certificates and Degrees Number Awarded
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities 2,685
Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences 1,923
Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians 576
Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services 530
Engineering Technologies/Technicians 438
Skilled Precision Production of Leather, Metal or Wood Products 433
Personal and Culinary Services 409
Security and Protective Services 238
Education 164
Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services 159

Source: JobsEQ

Upper East Texas Community College Overview

The Upper East Texas region’s seven community college districts provided technical and academic coursework for nearly 37,000 students in the 2017-18 school year (Exhibit 7).

Exhibit 7 Upper East Texas Region Community College Overview, 2017-18 School Year

Upper East Texas 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*
Kilgore College 5,294 1,008 $2,370 76.1% 23.9% 88.6% 88.0%
Northeast Texas Community College 3,090 746 $2,849 78.8% 21.2% 92.5% 93.9%
Panola College 2,771 606 $2,340 52.6% 47.4% 91.1% 91.7%
Paris Junior College 4,959 848 $2,400 83.4% 16.6% 87.6% 96.0%
Texarkana College 4,234 1,167 $2,770 81.3% 18.7% 84.7% 87.1%
Trinity Valley Community College 6,562 1,908 $2,640 62.0% 38.0% 90.4% 91.2%
Tyler Junior College 10,019 2,108 $2,962 53.9% 46.1% 93.8% 91.3%

*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

Kilgore College

  • Kilgore College trains more than 2,000 first responders each year through the East Texas Police Academy and the Kilgore College Fire Academy.
  • Kilgore College’s electric power technology program provides a 10-week training program to enable students to work for an electric power company or contractor. The program trains almost 100 students a year and is sponsored by eight electric cooperatives in the region and three companies.
  • The college’s well-known drill team, the Kilgore Rangerettes, has been a leader in the development of the drill team and precision dance industry nationwide.3

Northeast Texas Community College

  • The agriculture program at Northeast Texas Community College (NTCC) provides students with a background in cutting-edge technology and traditional management strategies and offers hands-on experience at the working farm on campus.4
  • NTCC partnered with Priefert Manufacturing Company Inc. on a Skills Development Fund grant to train machine operators, material movers, production welders and quality control inspectors.5
  • NTCC’s physical therapist assistant program has been successful in moving students into careers with a 100 percent pass rate for the national licensure exam and a 100 percent employment rate for graduates from 2016 to 2018.6

Panola College

  • Panola College’s ranch and land management program provides practical and educational experiences in animal science, beef cattle production, pasture management, livestock business, animal nutrition, land management and agricultural computer applications.7
  • For students interested in industrial technology, Panola College offers a natural gas compression program that trains students to operate and maintain compression packages that directly affect production levels and profits.8
  • Panola College’s medical assisting program prepares students in both administrative and clinical procedures so they can help medical providers contain costs and efficiently provide healthcare.9

Paris Junior College

  • Paris Junior College (PJC) added $141.7 million to the local business community during fiscal 2013, equal to about 2.1 percent of the region’s gross product.
  • PJC serves industries through the Skills Development Fund and has dispersed grants for worker training to companies such as Campbell Soup Co., Rubbermaid Texas Ltd., Tyco Healthcare and more.
  • PJC provides dual credit courses in 28 school districts throughout six counties. The college serves approximately 1,700 high school students each semester with academic and workforce courses.
  • The Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology is located at PJC and is considered the second-best jewelry school in the world, with its graduates being recruited by top companies such as TAG Heuer and Rolex.
  • PJC runs night and day welding programs in Paris and Sulphur Springs with full enrollment. Students in its mechatronics program typically are hired before graduation by local industry.10

Texarkana College

  • The Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing located on Texarkana College’s campus was created through a partnership between Texarkana College and the American Bladesmith Society to train students in beginning bladesmithing, Damascus steel, handles and guards, advanced grinding and more.11
  • Texarkana College’s culinary program is partnering with Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar to provide students hands-on experience with a fast-growing casual dining chain as it expands in North Texas.12
  • Texarkana College implemented a pharmacy technology degree program to help students become certified pharmacy technicians who can help meet the growing demand for healthcare services.13

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.14
  • To help students enter the high-demand medical field, TVCC partners with Palestine Independent School District to allow high school students to earn 60 college credits and an emergency medical technician certificate while completing high school.15
  • 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.16

Tyler Junior College

  • The game and simulation development program at Tyler Junior College (TJC) prepares students for entry-level positions in programming or graphics in Texas’ video game industry, which offers the second most game development jobs in the country.17
  • The power plant technology program at TJC provides students with the skills needed to begin a career in power plants, chemical plants, manufacturing, industrial maintenance, food processors and petrochemical industries.18
  • TJC’s criminal justice program has been training law enforcement professionals for more than 50 years and had graduates working in every Tyler and Smith County law enforcement agency as of February 2019.19


Community colleges play a vital role for students and businesses by offering postsecondary education and job training at great value. As the Upper East Texas region’s seven community college districts work to address local skills gaps and meet the specific needs of area employers, they support more than 4,000 jobs and add almost $383 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 nearly $484 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. Email from Staci Martin, Ed.D., Vice President of Institutional Planning, Kilgore College, Jan. 9, 2020.
  4. Northeast Texas Community College, “Agriculture,” (PDF) August 2019.
  5. Northeast Texas Community College, “Priefert, NTCC Receive TWC Grant to Provide Job Training,” April 25, 2019.
  6. Northeast Texas Community College, “Physical Therapist Assistant.”
  7. Panola College, “Agriculture.”
  8. Panola College, “Natural Gas Compression.”
  9. Panola College, “Medical Assisting.”
  10. Email from Pamela Anglin, president, Paris Junior College, December 16, 2019.
  11. Bill Moran School of Bladesmithing.
  12. Texarkana College, “Texarkana College’s Culinary Program Partners with Walk-On’s Restaurants,” October 23, 2019.
  13. Texarkana College, “TC Accepting Applications for New Pharmacy Technology Degree Program,” July 17, 2019.
  14. Lisa Tang, “TVCC Ready to Serve Small Business Owners,” Palestine Herald-Press, (November 19, 2019).
  15. William Patrick, “Texas City Offers HS Students Basic EMT, Firefighter Certification Options,” Palestine Herald-Press (May 2, 2019).
  16. Trinity Valley Community College, “Evening HVAC Program Added,” December 28, 2017.
  17. Tyler Junior College, “Game and Simulation Development.”
  18. Tyler Junior College, “Power Plant Technology.”
  19. Tyler Junior College, “TJC Criminal Justice Celebrates 50 Years of Training Law Enforcement Professionals,” February 7, 2019.


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