United Tribes NewsUnited Tribes economic impact is $31.8 million
Tribal College brings millions of dollars into local economy
18 February 2011
BISMARCK (UTN) - Having a tribal college in the community means millions of dollars for the economy of Bismarck-Mandan, according to an new economic study.
The total direct impact was $31.8 million last year, according to the study "The Economic Impact of United Tribes Technical College on the Economy of the Bismarck/Mandan, ND Area," published by the college in January.
"This is a substantial amount of economic activity coming from one organization," said David M. Gipp, United Tribes president. "It underscores the significance of our role in the community and emphasizes our value as an input in the Bismarck-Mandan economy."
The economic impact generated by United Tribes during FY 2010 came primarily from external sources in the form of federal grants and student financial aid. All are considered new dollars coming into the local and state economy.
With a 2009-10 enrollment of 1,762 students, United Tribes is the third largest of the nation's three dozen tribal colleges and universities, the study said. The college began offering vocational training programs for American Indian students and their families in 1969. Under Gipp's leadership for the past 34 years, the former military post has been transformed for post-secondary residential education and training. The college now offers over 20 vocational programs that are campus-based and delivered online. Over the past five years enrollment has averaged 1,253 students annually. About 10 to 15 percent are non-Indian students.
UTTC spending entered the economy through wages and salaries paid to 308 full time employees, non-salary expenditures for goods and services, student and visitor spending, and capital construction outlays. United Tribes is the 23rd largest local employer, the study said.
During the study period, three construction projects were underway on the campus: a science and technology building, cafeteria expansion, and a multi-use bike path/walking trail. At a cost of $2.5 million, the three contracts amounted to 24 percent of the total construction activity on schools and educational facilities in Bismarck.
"Those who have witnessed the development of our new campus should be the first to recognize that we are committed to expanding and upgrading our facilities to match our steady enrollment growth," said Gipp. "We plan to continue making significant capital expenditures well into the future."
Despite having fewer students than either Bismarck State College or the University of Mary (both located at Bismarck), United Tribes has a comparably greater economic impact on the community, on a per-student basis. The study attributed that to three factors: student housing (more than one-fourth of UTTC students live on campus); a K-8 elementary school and three child care facilities on campus for the children of students; and economic activity from visitors who attend tribal conferences, meetings and the United Tribes International Powwow.
According to the study, the economic impact of the powwow and associated meetings and events on Bismarck-Mandan was $4.6 million. The four-day cultural event is one of the largest events of its kind in the region and is held on the weekend following Labor Day each year. It is preceded by three days of meetings involving tribal government leaders and workers from the region and government leaders from around the country.
"We are pleased to be recognized as a cultural resource and a model for post-secondary residential training and education. Over the past 42 years, United Tribes has been a pathway for many thousands of American Indian students and their families to become productive citizens," said Gipp. "But it's also important to understand how we contribute to the community economically."
The study was based on the College Impact Model developed by Caffrey and Issacs, which is used in much of the research on college and university economic impacts throughout the country. The author and principal investigator is economist Tom Katus, TKA Associates, Rapid City, SD, who also prepared economic studies for United Tribes in 2003 and 2005.
"Recognizing our economic impact is a step toward understanding the importance of United Tribes to a healthy and economically vibrant Bismarck-Mandan," said Gipp.
United Tribes News
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