Tag Archives: economic impact

Urban Impact Talent Scholarship

Modeled on a first-in-the-nation scholarship offered in Michigan, a new program launched in Hamilton, Ohio that tackles college student debt, workforce attraction, urban repopulation, and economic impact, all in one strategy. It’s called the Talent Attraction Program (TAP) and is a competitive scholarship program that provides back end financial support for graduates. The financial support can be leveraged by graduates to put toward outstanding student loan debt or to offset other cost-of-living expenses.

Specifically, applicants must demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Graduated from a STEAM program within the last 7 years
  • Are not currently residents of the Greater Hamilton region
  • Have more than $5,000 in outstanding student loan debt
  • Will live within Hamilton’s Urban Core
  • Demonstrate employment in the greater the Hamilton area or Butler County

This program is a twist on the now popular Promise programs, an initiative to increase college attainment in a specific locale, that became well known and widely replicated after the success of the Kalamazoo Promise. While Promise programs increase the potential talent supply of college grads, attraction programs attract existing qualified professionals to meet employer demand.

As I mentioned in the Dayton Daily News, reducing the debt burden is an attractive incentive to recent grads and it will also free up recent college grads to spend more of their money in the communities where they decide to live. During these times of low employment and high workforce demand, a strategy like this one is certainly another arrow in the quiver for cities and regions. Like the Promise programs, it will be interesting to see if more and more cities copy the TAP Scholarship.

In the long run, however, TAP needs to scale up to be successful, increasing the pay out beyond $5,000 and significantly increasing the number of recipients per year. After speaking with the Hamilton Community Foundation that funds and runs the program, my impression is that launching the program is the first step. Over time, they will be in better position to measure and evaluate the program’s impact and, hopefully, the results will support a case for increased investment.

While it would make sense for private industry to come forward and invest substantially in this scholarship, this is led by a community foundation for a reason and the impact will be greater than just helping area employers. The TAP program is about populating the urban core and, as many American cities have experienced, a vibrant core affects, positively, the culture, community, economy, and quality of life of a city and its people. Let’s closely watch this scholarship program develop and, then, advocate for replication and further investment if it proves to work.

All the best to the City of Hamilton!

WiIl other Ohio cities soon follow suit?

Mighty Edu’s $7.3 Billion SWO Economic Impact

In 2009, I wrote my first ever blog post for Richard Florida’s Creative Class Group on Mighty Edu: higher ed’s positive impacts on economies, communities, and people.  I wrote this post as our nation descended in its second greatest economic depression. Living through that period reinforced my Might Edu mantra as I watched higher ed’s value and importance increase during this period. Pivotal to emerging from the depression, higher education helped, first, stabilize and, second, grow local economies by re-tooling America’s workforce with advanced degrees and certificates, and research and commercialization. It’s impact on economies continues to grow.

Recently,  SOCHE released its report on the Economic and Fiscal Impacts of its member colleges and universities in southwest Ohio. The collective impact for fiscal year 2016 amounted to over $7 billion, including $3.8 billion in new monies brought to the region from tuition, sponsored research, and alumni giving.

This sustained level of spending and revenue generation ripples through our region, driving the success of other sectors that directly and indirectly support higher education through specific goods and services. The wage and tax revenue contribute amounts that help sustain local government services, and the job creation is over 70,000 making higher education once of the largest employment sectors.

More importantly, as region’s become more competitive for talent, last year, SOCHE member colleges and universities awarded over 31,000 students with degrees and certificates, providing an ample supply of talent for the workforce.

Even better news is that this data reflects only the southwest region of the state. Ohio is rich in higher education and the combined and cumulative impact of its over 80 colleges and universities, I would wager, more than quadruples SOCHE’s impact findings.

Now, imagine if Ohio invested in higher education and increased the education levels of its population to the point where, instead of less than 20 percent of people older than 25 have only a high school diploma, 80 percent had college degrees. What if?