Just operating the college brings around $17 million in economic activity into the three counties, and when the students coming to Powell from the Big Horn Basin and beyond spend their money, about $4.79 million in additional economic activity is …
Powell residents are no doubt aware of the positive impact Northwest College has on the economy of Powell, but they may not be aware of the size of that impact.
Now, thanks to a recent independent study into the role NWC and other Wyoming community colleges play in the state, we can see just how much the college means, not only to Powell, but to the rest of Park County as well as Big Horn and Washakie counties as well.
Just operating the college brings around $17 million in economic activity into the three counties, and when the students coming to Powell from the Big Horn Basin and beyond spend their money, about $4.79 million in additional economic activity is generated.
But it doesn’t stop there. The study estimates that more than three-quarters of the students who attend NWC stay in the three-county area, and they contribute more than $58 million in income to the area economy every year.
All together, the study estimates, the total economic impact of Northwest College in the three counties is more than $78 million, 4.5 percent of the total economy of the area. But because the college is centered in Powell, the impact here is probably a higher percentage than that.
The study also finds that investing in an education is an advantage to students, with every dollar invested increasing their lifetime income an average of $5.60. Moreover, those with more education are more likely to be healthy and less likely to be on welfare or unemployment, another economic benefit to the community at large.
Even more important, Northwest College is helping educate the people who will provide vital services in the future. Among the students who will spend two years at NWC are the welders who will repair our equipment, the nurses who will be available when we need their care and the musicians who will entertain us. The doctor who may someday save your life and the researcher who will make the medical discovery that makes it possible for him to do so may be beginning their education at NWC next fall.
Those benefits more than justify the public money spent on education in Wyoming, including community colleges, and Powell is fortunate to be a beneficiary of that spending.