According to recent statistics released from the Alliance for Excellent Education, Gordon County graduates who may go on to pursue a higher education degree potentially opens up a door for economic stimulus for the county, but statistics show a high school diploma is the first step.
Information based on a computer model shows the economic impact of this year’s high school graduates will have on Calhoun and Gordon County.
The report goes on to explain that of all the graduates who obtain a high school diploma, only 25 percent would pursue a college education or technical trade, potentially doubling the income dollars in the state.
For Calhoun and Gordon County graduates of 2012, the possibility these students will return to their hometown to pursue a career provides the potential for monetary rewards for the county and the state.
“As a result of these 605 (Calhoun and Gordon County class of 2012) graduates’ increased wages and higher levels of spending, state and local tax revenues in Georgia would likely grow by as much as $700,000 and federal tax revenue would grow by $1.1 million during an average year,” according to the Alliance.
Graduates returning to the county after receiving higher degrees or technical training is a positive avenue of financial gain for the county, according to Gordon County Chamber of Commerce President Jimmy Phillips, who says the start is a high school diploma.
“High School Graduation is the key to the start of a better quality of life for all citizens. It is the single most important goal of every person in our community to encourage all students to graduate high school. The economic development of our community depends on it,” said Phillips.
According to statistics from the Alliance, the graduating class of 2012 from Calhoun and Gordon County means approximately $14 million more spent on new homes as opposed to if these 605 graduates did not obtain a degree.
“If there were ever an argument for investing in college and career readiness, the impact of the economic crisis in recent years provides one. Students who earn a high school diploma and advance their education by attending a college or learning technical skills, are more likely to find a job and to be successful,” said Calhoun City Schools Superintendent Dr. Michelle Taylor.
Additionally, a possible $600,000 possible spending for automobile purchases in one average income year, according to statistics from the alliance.
“The additional spending and investments that these 605 graduates will make, combined, would likely be enough to support as many as 60 new jobs and increase the gross state product by as much as $7.8 million by the time they reach their career midpoints,” said the Alliance.
Many students who have gone on to pursue higher education and returned to Gordon County can be seen throughout the community, and Taylor is one herself.
“Many of our graduates choose to come back to Calhoun and Gordon County to live and work. We are blessed to see these graduates take on leadership roles in our community and give back in many ways,” said Taylor.
Graduates upon return from higher education
Many graduates of Calhoun and Gordon County schools have come back from a successful attainment of a college diploma or technical certification. Many graduates are making decisions that affect the county today.
For Gordon County residents, many may know or be neighbors even, with other residents with Calhoun or Gordon County schools Alma maters.
Firefighters, nurses, small business owners, lawyers, doctors, musicians, city and county counsel members have graduated from Calhoun and Gordon County.
Some Calhoun and Gordon Count Alma Matters, have gone on to obtain degrees in higher education, while others have achieved success right here in Gordon County and Calhoun, by starting their own business and creating jobs, to becoming involved as government employees, from firefighters, to military service people.
Calhoun City Council member Matt Barton graduated from Gordon Central High School in 1990 and now has his own business and has served on the school board in the past.
Though Barton does not hold a degree in higher education, he has owned and operated a successful courier business in Gordon County, creating jobs and is now contributing to future graduates and his own children’s education today.
“There is an economic impact. The [Gordon County] community pays for their base education, the local tax payer paid for me to get my [high school] education, now I am paying for my kids and other kids, there is an economic impact that way. Gordon County is getting their tax dollars back by me having my family here and my company here,” said Barton.
The graduating classes of 2012 have expressed hopes, through student interviews, of one day returning to their hometown and contributing to the community that raised them.
In an effort to boost the high school drop out rate, the alliance has provided awareness and statistics encouraging high school graduation as well as encouragement for students to pursue a degree in higher education at the collegiate or technical level.
High School dropout prevention
“Collectively, this single class of 605 graduates will likely earn as much as $7.1 million more in an average year, compared to their likely earnings without a high school diploma,” according to the Alliance for Excellent Education.
The initial benefits for the state of Georgia for the more than 61,000 high school dropout from the class of 2010 had they graduated, would have resulted in millions of increased dollars in avenues such as home sales, auto sales, jobs, state tax revenue, and the gross state product, according to the alliance.
“From the individual student to the bank branch manager, new car salesman, or realtor, everyone wins when more students graduate from high school. That’s why the best economic stimulus is a high school diploma,” said Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education.
The importance of higher education is stressed in schools, which is taught in Calhoun and Gordon County schools.
“Calhoun City Schools encourages students to be knowledgeable about the opportunities they will have after high school. Our goal is to prepare them for college and / or career upon high school completion. Through the use of student advisement and guidance programs, we expose our students to the host of opportunities present to them upon graduation,” said Taylor.
The effect may take time to unfold true economic impact potential, but statistics show that success starts with a high school diploma.