Education

The New YSU! Pumps $1B Into Region’s Economy

By Joseph Mosca, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – There are some things in our communities that we don’t give a second thought. We take them for granted.

Youngstown State University is a perfect example.

Did you ever think what the Mahoning and Shenango valleys would be like without YSU?

There are tens of thousands of YSU graduates living in this region, working in productive careers as teachers, bankers, nurses, police officers, engineers, mental health therapists, chemists, lawyers and so on.

There are more than a thousand faculty members who come from across the world, providing world-class instruction, doing cutting-edge research, leading their communities and raising families.

There are community lectures, football games, concerts, recreational activities, art shows, conferences, academic debates, basketball games, theatrical productions, etc. – all adding value to the greater Youngstown region.

So how do you place a value on all of that?

Recently, YSU and some other universities across Ohio asked Economic Modeling Specialists International to make the calculations. And, in many ways, the findings are not all that surprising.

Overall, YSU students, alumni and visitors, along with research, construction and entrepreneurial activities, pump nearly $1 billion into the five-county regional economy every year, supporting close to 16,000 jobs, according to the findings.

In addition, YSU generates nearly six times more in tax dollars than it spends. What is equally impressive is that YSU’s return on investment for students outperforms the ROI generated by the U.S. stock market.

In fact, for every $1 students invest in a YSU education, they get back a cumulative $5.20 in increased lifetime earnings.

So, there you have it. The numbers are clear – YSU’s value to students and to the economic vitality and future of the region is enormous, to put it mildly.

But, as big as that impact is, it only tells part of the story.

Before becoming interim provost, I served as dean of the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services at YSU.

When I spoke before groups, I always took pride in pointing out that just about everyone in the room had been served by a graduate of the college at one time or another – a nurse, a physical therapist, a social worker, a law enforcement officer, a dental hygienist, a respiratory care therapist, etc.

The same can be said for our graduates across all colleges and disciplines.

We also touch the community through after-school programs, a free dental hygiene clinic, volunteer tax preparation services and the Midlothian Free Health Clinic. And we host programs such as the YSU English Festival, Physics Olympics and History Day, as well as the YSU Summer Festival of the Arts, which draws thousands of visitors to campus every year.

Most recently, a new study was released showing that every year more than 600 YSU student teachers put in nearly 147,000 hours of service in three dozen school districts throughout the region. This results in an economic impact of close to $4 million a year.

Those are impressive numbers and speak volumes to our engagement in the community

So, back to our premise.

Sure, we take YSU for granted. Sure, we know it’s economic impact is huge. And, yes, it’s hard to imagine what our region would be without it.

As the newest member of the YSU Tod Hall leadership team, I look forward to working hard on behalf of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters and the community to ensure the university’s value continues to thrive for decades to come.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.