Study: MN West has economic contribution of $128.6M

A study released this week said state colleges and universities have big economic impacts all around Minnesota. In the southwest region of the state, Minnesota West Community and Technical College is no different.

According to an analysis conducted by consulting firm Parker Philips, Minnesota West contributes $128.6 million a year to Minnesota’s economy, and supports 1,140 jobs.

The analysis of Minnesota West was one part of a bigger study commissioned by the Minnesota State system. The system includes 30 colleges and seven universities around the state. All together, those colleges and universities contribute $8 billion a year to Minnesota, the study said.

“An economic contribution analysis is an objective way to measure the significance of an organization in the regional economy. It is a tool that policy makers can use to inform their decisions,” said Nichole Parker, a principal partner at Parker Philips. “Minnesota West Community and Technical College clearly is a major contributor to the regional economy.”

The study looked at Minnesota West’s economic impact on multiple different levels. Parker said spending by state colleges and universities on things like capital projects and employee pay and benefits had a direct economic impact. But it also has indirect effects on vendors and suppliers, and induced effects like household spending by employees.

In 2017, Minnesota West generated a direct economic impact of $66.1 million, and an indirect and induced impact of $62.4 million, the study said. And while Minnesota West employs 334 people, the college’s economic impact supports 1,140 jobs. The study said other aspects of Minnesota West’s economic impact include generating $7.5 million in state and local tax revenue, and an estimated $1.3 million in charitable donations and volunteer service by faculty, staff and students.

Minnesota West’s economic contribution also includes the value of increased productivity created by graduates. The study estimated that, over the course of a 40-year working life, Minnesota West graduates would contribute an additional state income of $2.5 billion. “Minnesota West makes a long-term contribution to the regional economy with every graduating class, because the productivity improvements from higher education last for the worker’s entire career,” said Terry Gaalswyk, president of Minnesota West.

More information on the economic contribution analysis, including individual reports for Minnesota West and other state colleges and universities, is available online at