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Research highlights career tech’s positive impact on Ohio economy

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A new analysis from the research team at the Alpaugh Family Economics Center finds career technical education and training in the state of Ohio generates $1.4 billion in economic activity (FY2019), supports more than 15,000 jobs, and provides an average return on investment for program graduates of 2,071 percent after 20 years.

SEE LOCAL 12 CINCINNATI STORY “Research shows vocational education benefits not just students, but also state’s economy”

On behalf of the Ohio Association of Career Technical Superintendents (OACTS), the Center’s research team studied the economic and fiscal benefits generated by the operations and capital expenditures of Ohio’s 49 career centers, as well as the benefits that programs offered by Ohio’s 51 Ohio Technical Centers (OTCs) afford students. OTCs, located through the state, serve adult students with career technical education. During the 2018-2019 academic year, a total of 10,773 adult students were enrolled.

After completing a career technical certification program, students are equipped for employment in a variety of industries, and these certificate holders, who previously only had a high school diploma or equivalent, have the potential for an improved employment and earnings position. On average, career technical certificate holders are estimated to have annual earnings of $46,208 five years after starting the program. This represents a potential annual earnings gain of $12,323 compared to high school graduates. After 10 years, the average annual earnings are projected to increase to $50,742, or approximately $14,032 more than the high school baseline. The average annual earnings for certificate holders increase to $61,309 after 20 years, which represents a potential annual earnings gain of $18,221 compared to high school graduates. The average return on investment of a career technical certificate is 223.6 percent after five years, 757.0 percent after 10 years, and 2,071.4 percent after 20 years.

Career centers also generate substantial economic activity in Ohio. In the 2019 fiscal year, capital and operations expenditures generated $1.4 billion in economic activity, supported 15,299 jobs, and generated $708.0 million in earnings in Ohio. Career centers also generated $26.6 million in income and sales tax revenue in the State of Ohio during fiscal year 2019.

“The Economic Impact Study confirms Ohio’s Career Centers and Technical Centers make a positive difference in the lives of career tech graduates by increasing their earning power which in turn benefits their families”, said Margaret Hess, Executive Director of OACTS.  “The study also highlights the impact of career technical centers on the economic health of local communities throughout the state of Ohio.  CTE is indeed a good investment for Ohio.”

The Ohio Association of Career-Technical Superintendents (OACTS) fosters collaboration among Ohio’s Career Center and Joint Vocational School Superintendents to share best practices and to advance career-technical education in Ohio. OACTS regularly communicates and advocates with legislators and policymakers throughout Ohio to create an environment which promotes the growth and quality of Ohio’s career centers.

The Alpaugh Family Economics Center’s research team (economicsresearch.org) provides unbiased, non-partisan economic data and analyses that enable clients to make informed financial, policy, and economic and workforce development decisions. For more than 20 years, Center researchers have provided critical data analyses that empower business and civic leaders to respond to changing economic conditions, strengthen local economies, and improve the quality of life for their communities.