The Economic Impact of Equity 2030
By Annette Parker, President, South Central College
Andriel Dees, Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion
October 30, 2023
According to the Demographic Center of Minnesota, people of color and people from indigenous backgrounds make up 20 percent of the total population of the state. Yet, while all race groups have grown recently in Minnesota, between 2010 and 2018, the state added five times more people of color and people from indigenous backgrounds as non-Hispanic white residents*.
In Faribault, home to one of South Central College’s two campuses, that demographic shift rings true. In fact, the demographics of new African and African American community of Faribault have been changing at the same proportional rate as Minneapolis. To respond to the changing population, South Central College has joined forces with Faribault employers, along with the local K-12 school district and the Chamber of Commerce, to ensure that the city’s newest residents are educated and work-ready. It’s a win-win situation — the diverse population receives an excellent education that leads them to well-paying jobs and careers in the community, which, in turn, brings economic value to Faribault.
The community coalition developed the H2C program, which stands for high school to college to career. With the passage of a bond referendum, the high school added a seventh hour to its daily schedule, which allowed students to study more—whether it was a language course or a CTE course. The program started with a health science partnership with Allina and Mayo, which afforded students the opportunity to complete up to 38 college credits before they graduated high school. Now the H2C program is expanding to include manufacturing and construction as well, which are key industries in Faribault.
It’s a public-private partnership and a strong case study demonstrating how a community can remain strong through change and thrive. Through this effort Faribault is preparing the workforce for the future, welcoming a diverse workforce, and ensuring they can participate in the community at every level.
The contributions of Minnesota State graduates, including those from South Central College, are critically important to the economic vitality of the communities where they live and the entire state. There are almost 850,000 Minnesota State alumni living and working in Minnesota and the economic impact of these graduates’ additional income, as the result of obtaining post-secondary education, is significant.**
As reported in the FY2022 Economic Contribution Analysis prepared by Parker Philips for Minnesota State, based on additional income earned after high school, Minnesota State graduates contribute an estimated $9.4 billion to the states’ economy and support an additional 52,000 jobs. Over a 40-year career, these graduates will generate $385.9 billion in economic activity.
Programs like H2C in Faribault are one way to ensure that the diverse population of our Minnesota communities are able to capitalize on the economic impact of a post-secondary education. Another key contributor to growing economic impact for diverse students at South Central College has been aligning the college’s strategic plan with Equity 2030 and specifically identifying how the two plans integrate and leverage one another.
One example of this alignment at South Central College has been the addition of Inclusion Centers at both campuses this past semester. The Inclusion Centers provide a place where students, faculty, and staff can continue to learn about and value diversity. The spaces also provide multicultural programming designed to support underrepresented student populations, professional development and learning opportunities for SCC’s employees and partners.
All of these aligned efforts are starting to move the needle at South Central College. One of the leading indicators the college tracks with its efforts is the completion rate of gateway courses. The completion rate for Hispanic students in the English Gateway course has increased 70 percent and for African American students in the Math Gateway course, the completion rate went up 140 percent.
It hasn’t happened overnight and there is still much work to do. However, South Central College is one of the many examples of the 33 colleges and universities of Minnesota State that has found a formula that is working — partnering with the community, aligning strategic plans like Equity 2030 and individual employee work plans, and measuring results. The end result can be a positive economic impact for the college’s graduates, the Faribault and North Mankato communities, and the state of Minnesota overall.
**FY2022 Economic Contribution Analysis by Parker Philips