Clarion’s total direct economic impact on the commonwealth is $160.9 million, according to a new study released this month by Baker, Tilly, Virchow, Krause, LLP. In addition, the university employs 630 individuals, making it Clarion County’s number one employer. The report was the result of a study released by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which shows that the state system generates more than $6.7 billion in economic activity each year.
The $160.9 million represents four main spending sources: institutional spending ($36.8 million); faculty and staff spending ($40.2 million); student spending ($49.1 million) and capital expenditures ($13.8 million).
"We are proud to be a leading economic engine for the Clarion community," said Karen Whitney, Ph.D., president, Clarion University. "Through the exceptional people we employ, the confident students who come here to learn and our direct financial expenditures, we make a profound economic impact on the region and the commonwealth."
The report goes on to say that Clarion's total economic impact on the commonwealth – direct, indirect and induced – is $264.6 million, using multipliers obtained through the Bureau of Economic Analysis Regional Industrial Multiplier Systems (RIMS II).
"Each dollar invested in Clarion University by the commonwealth via appropriations yielded a return of approximately $11.89," the study indicates. Clarion's appropriation for the 2013-2014 fiscal year was $22.3 million.
The university also impacts employment. For each additional $1 million of output by a state system university, approximately 21.3 jobs were created or supported. In this manner, the employment impact of Clarion University is approximately 3,126 jobs.
University capital expenditures also support jobs in the region. For each additional $1 million of output, approximately 17.9 jobs were created or supported. In this manner, the employment impact of Clarion is 248 additional jobs.
The total employment impact of Clarion University is 3,374 jobs.
Enhancing economic development in the region
The report notes that the state system plays a role in enhancing the economic development of the regions in which the individual universities reside by assisting in the development and growth of new and existing businesses, as well as by increasing the employment opportunities, both of which increase economic activity in the respective areas.
Clarion accomplishes this in various ways, such as partnering with local businesses, providing education and job skills training, providing an outlet for research and development through incubators, and providing financial and technical assistance.
Short- and long-term development
By providing higher education, Clarion University is not only helping to improve the economic development in the short-term, but in the long-run as well. Primarily, Clarion does this through the granting of undergraduate and graduate degrees, but it also does so indirectly through its purchasing, expenditures, services, and employing hundreds of people.
Through its various economic development activities, Clarion successfully provides an economic competitive advantage for the county.
SBDC and CARIPD
Clarion University has a Small Business Development Center, which helps in the growth of its 10-county region in western Pennsylvania by providing entrepreneurs with the education, information and tools necessary to build successful businesses.
During 2013, Clarion's SBDC provided approximately 7,522 hours of consulting to approximately 524 entrepreneurs, mostly regarding start-up assistance. In addition, $11.9 million was approved in client financing.
The Gregory Barnes Center is home to the Center for Applied Research and Intellectual Property Development. Since its inauguration, CARIPD has conducted contract research and grant-supported research with 11 companies and six individual entrepreneurs and provided initial consultations for an additional eight potential entrepreneurs. More than $300,000 has been brought in through grants to support applied research for them.
Volunteerism and the Clarion economy
Clarion University's faculty and staff spent 1,400 hours in 2013 and 1,450 in 2014 volunteering. With an average value of approximately $22.55 per hour, their total contribution amounts to $31,570 in 2013 and $32,698 in 2014.
Clarion students volunteered 4,400 hours in 2013 and 4,550 hours in 2014.
To view the complete study, go to http://www.passhe.edu/FactCenter/Documents/EconomicAndEmploymentImpactReport.pdf.