By Kimberly Marcott Weinberg
Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing
The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford contributed $67.5 million to the regional economy in 2011, according to a new study by the University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research, which has performed economic impact studies for small colleges across western Pennsylvania.
Conducting the study were Dr. Sabina Deitrick, director of the Urban and Regional Analysis Program at the Center for Social and Urban Research; Christopher Briem and William Lafe, who noted that “the institution has expanded and become an even more critical part of Bradford and its regional economy. As we move further into the 21st century, Pitt-Bradford’s role will likely expand even more, helping to grow the region, improve the quality of life of its residents, and add to prosperity across sectors.”
The researchers examined economic data from the Pennsylvania counties of McKean, Elk, Warren and Cattaraugus County in New York to draw conclusions on economic impact. Their conclusions on community impact and partnerships also include the counties of Cameron, Forest and Potter.
“It is abundantly clear that life in rural America has changed over the past 50 years and will continue to evolve in the context of a global society,” said Dr. Livingston Alexander, Pitt-Bradford’s president. “Higher education is crucial in the Information Age, and Pitt-Bradford is fully committed to preparing students from the region and beyond to succeed in careers of their choosing. In the process, the institution makes tremendous contributions to the economic and cultural development of our communities.”
Of the $67.5 million dollar impact in the economy, $39.7 million was in direct expenditures to the north central region with a concentration of funds in McKean County. Students generated $10 million through off-campus living and discretionary spending.
In addition to contributing tens of millions of dollars to the regional economy, the university supports 740 jobs in the region – 555 direct jobs and 184 indirect jobs from the indirect effects of the university’s expenditures and the induced effects of consumer spending for goods and services. For the 2011 fiscal year, Pitt-Bradford contributed $134,682 in local payroll taxes.
While the total economic impact calculated for 2011 included $8.5 million in capital expenditures, from 2001 – 2010, the campus averaged more than $6.3 million each year on much-needed capital expenditures, including the Sarah B. Dorn House, the Harriett B. Wick Chapel and renovations of academic buildings.
In addition to the financial benefits, the study cited quality-of-life benefits that the university provides to the region, such as the education of the local workforce. During the last decade, 56 percent of Pitt-Bradford graduates have found employment in the region. Top employers of alumni are Bradford Regional Medical Center, Beacon Light Behavioral Health Services, Bradford Area School District and American Refining Group. About 3,000 alumni live in the six-county region.
Through its Division of Continuing Education and Regional Development, Pitt-Bradford provides workforce training such as oil and gas industry seminars and OSHA safety courses, professional training, and personal enrichment. The division also provides recreational programs such as fly-fishing, self-defense and painting classes.
School-age children in the region benefit from a variety of academic programs and athletic camps, and recent expansion of the College in the High School program allows students to take Pitt-Bradford courses in their high schools. Numerous high schools in the region participate in the program, allowing students to earn college credit at a fraction of the cost of enrolling in a post-secondary institution.
Pitt-Bradford also serves as a cultural resource, drawing nationally recognized theater and dance companies, as well as musicians, poets, writers and artists. Additionally, faculty and staff take an active part in the greater community through volunteer service on boards and committees. During 2011-12 academic year, the Office of Community Engagement, which coordinates student volunteer efforts, recorded 7,771 hours of community service and $10,337 raised for local charities.
Pitt-Bradford’s Center for Rural Health Practice, American Refining Group/Harry R. Halloran Jr. Energy Institute and Allegheny Institute play a facilitative role, providing expertise and brokering partnerships in the region to address social and industrial needs.
To read the entire study, visit www.upb.pitt.edu/impact.aspx.