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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

OTC Releases Economic Impact Study

A new study finds that Ozarks Technical Community College has a total impact of $234 million in its 12-county service area.

The economic impact study also found that the present value of higher future earnings that OTC students will receive over their working careers is $357 million. 

Matt Morrow, president of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, said the study confirms "what intuitively most of us understand and know already, which is that successful communities are built on strong foundations."

According to Morrow, a strong foundation for economic development and economic growth is a strong transportation system and a strong education system.  OTC, he said, is a key driver of economic development and growth, and the study shows that.

"I hope the impact of the study would be that if I'm a student and I'm thinking about whether or not I need to go and pursue a career or pursue a degree that I realize that, for every dollar that I put in, I'm going to get $18 back," said Dr. Hal Higdon, OTC Chancellor.  "If I'm a legislator or a voter for a legislator, know that they're going to get a huge return on money for every dollar the state puts in.  The same thing for our local taxpayers."

He said, while OTC makes the most of every dollar it has, more funding is needed to expand programs like nursing and welding to allow more students in.  He’s frustrated that OTC receives the least state and federal dollars of any community college in Missouri.

Chip Sheppard, chair of OTC’s Board of Trustees, said people deserve the self-esteem that comes with having an education.  And while the college is doing all it can with the money it has, it’s not meeting the needs of the entire community due to lack of adequate funding.