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The Upstate Economy

Community colleges help region's economy

Community colleges are having a large economic impact on their home counties upstate, according to new research.

A report focused on Monroe Community College in western New York, calculated the institution has an annual impact of more than $710 million in Monroe County. And, says MCC president Anne Kress, SUNY colleges across upstate New York are no different.“There are 30 community colleges spread throughout the state. Each one of us is having a real, positive impact on the economic development and the economic prosperity of our region. And what you see in Monroe County with MCC is replicated throughout the state, throughout the Finger Lakes region.”

Kress says despite a tough job market, individuals with post-secondary education fare much better in the current economy than those with high school diplomas or less.

“Folks who come out with higher education; with an associate’s degree, with a certificate, with a bachelor’s degree, fare much better in the economy than individuals who come out with a high school diploma or less," she said. "That’s one of the reasons that investing in higher education is so incredibly important.”

Kress says higher education leads to a more productive workforce, lower crime rates and a higher level of health in the community.