More than 40,000 vacancies are waiting to be filled in Baton Rouge, and an economic study has revealed Baton Rouge Community College’s potential to fill the gap.
During a panel to announce the report on Tuesday afternoon, BRAC President and CEO Adam Knapp highlighted the school’s importance to the local economy.
“Coming out of a pandemic, Baton Rouge lost a lot of jobs,” he said. “We created 10,000 jobs in the city last month, but we are still trying to reach pre-pandemic labor levels. BRCC is the glue that tries to fill the gaps in the needs of our economy.
Philip Smith, Vice Chancellor, said 92% of school residents in the state are hired within 5 years of graduating from BRCC.
“That’s the vision at work,” he said. “That we can help not only our students, but also our local economy to be the best it can be.”
Emsi, a labor market analysis company, conducted a study that looked at the economic benefits of the BRCC. He showed that for every dollar invested in DCFC, each of the school’s 23,000 students earns $5.30 in future income. For every 90 jobs in Baton Rouge, the school supports one.
BRCC provides $297.5 million in additional revenue and supports 4,520 jobs across the city. Alumni and the companies they work for support the bulk of that revenue, bringing in $236.9 million. The rest comes from the university’s annual payroll and daily student spending at local businesses.
Willie Smith, Chancellor of the BRCC, said the report’s findings strengthen the school’s role in the city.
“The DCNC is a critical asset to our community in terms of educational success, workforce development and economic growth,” said Smith. “Our students continue to work in well-paying jobs for critical businesses in our region, which is a win-win situation for our economy and our graduates.”
Between manufacturing, construction, IT, health care, automotive and professional programs at BRCC, graduate students are “armed with education,” said Lisa Williams, associate commissioner for education and manpower training at the Louisiana Board of Regents.
“We’ve set a North Star, a goal, that 60 percent of working-age adults in Baton Rouge will have at least some technical certification by 2030,” she said. “Higher education isn’t always a ‘hire’ education, and we’re working to change that.”
Jennifer Burgess, a 2017 BRCC graduate, said professors and advisers set her up to be hired at IBM directly after graduation.
“They gave me individual attention, showed me my options, and helped me with my resume, LinkedIn profile, and applications,” Burgess said. “They even took my portraits which I use for my badge at IBM.”
Burgess said his success is the product of a community college fighting to get its students hired.
“It changed my life – and my salary,” she said. “I bought a house.”