CCCC Releases Study Detailing Economic Impact to Region

By Payton Tholstrup

On January 19th, 2024, Cloud County Community College released the results of an economic impact survey that was conducted with Lightcast, a company specializing in labor market analytics and economic impact. The study was conducted over all 19 community colleges in Kansas.

The results show the college has a $68.5 million annual impact in its 12-county service area. The service area is made up of Cloud, Clay, Washington, Ottawa, Dickinson, Geary, Republic, Jewell, Smith, Osborn, Lincoln, and Ottawa counties. This means that one out of 70 jobs in the service area are supported by Cloud and its students. Study results also revealed high returns on investment in Cloud County.

The Economic Impact Analysis reflected the fiscal year 2021-22. It measured how the college affects the local economy. An Investment Analysis (a comparison of the costs and benefits) also shows the return on investments.

Those with an associate degree from Cloud that graduated 2021-2022 are expected to see annual earnings that are $14,200 higher than a person with a high school diploma or equivalent working in Kansas.

“The results affirm Cloud County’s impact to the region, and the fulfillment of our mission to prepare students to lead successful lives and enhance the vitality of our communities,” said Cloud County President Amber Knoettgen. “This is clearly evidenced through the fact that 70 percent of our graduates stay within our 12-county service area after graduation.”

Taxpayers also see the benefits. For every dollar taxpayers invest in Cloud, taxpayers will receive a cumulative value of $2.30.

The education and training Cloud provides for regional residents also has an impact. In 2021-22, Cloud alumni generated $59.6 million in added income to the regional economy. This is the equivalent of supporting 817 jobs, an economic boost similar to hosting the World Series nine times.

Throughout the analysis year, Cloud County injected $68.5 million into the college’s 12-county service area, which includes operations spending, student spending and alumni impact. The college’s annual payroll and other spending generates $8.1 million in added income.

The survey drew information from a variety of diverse sources and blended data from the college’s 2021-22 academic and financial reports. Information was gathered from sources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The results show that Cloud County is a strong investment for students, taxpayers, and society. Students receive return for their investments in their education at Cloud.

The results of the analysis demonstrate that Cloud County is a strong investment for all three major stakeholders –– students, taxpayers and society. The Kansas community college system overall has an annual $6.7 billion economic impact on the state. Community colleges in Kansas serve more than 115,000 students. 72% of those students remain in Kansas.

To access the executive summary, as well as a one-page summary, on Cloud County’s economic impact study, visit

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