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OTC has economic impact over $25 million in surrounding areas
Beth Mathews for Web
Beth Matthews - photo by Herald File
    Ogeechee Technical College is a "significant economic force" in the region, a study conducted by Georgia Southern found.
    The study, conducted by Georgia Southern's Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development, said OTC's impact on the five county region (Bulloch, Screven, Evans, Effingham and Chatham), is approximately $25.9 million and 384 jobs.
    "I feel the community doesn't realize the impact Ogeechee Technical College has on the community," said Beth Mathews, executive director of institutional advancement.
    Dr. Ben Thompson, vice president of economic development, said the study's findings were in line with what he expected, but like Mathews, he wasn't sure the community knew the impact of the school.
    "This will just be another reason for the community to appreciate the college," he said. "Everyone knows it's a nice asset to have in Bulloch County and the three counties it serves, but this helps put a dollar figure on that."
    Also included in the study was Ogeechee Technical College's GED program, which has had an average of 230 graduates in the past six years. During that time, "OTC's output of GEDs has increased total community income by an estimated $400,000.
    In addition to the measurable financial impact the school has on the area, the study also cited several intangibles provided by OTC, including "stable reliable growth in the region" due to Georgia's continued focus on improving the state's educational competitiveness.
    It also mentioned Ogeechee Technical College's role as part of the Quick Start program that provides training at no cost to new or expanding businesses in Georgia.
    "While the Georgia Department of technical and Adult Education does not attach a dollar figure to Quick Start training, the value of the program is obvious in the cost savings to businesses in OTC's region, and through the incentive Quick Start provides to firms considering a move to the region," the report concluded.
    "I don't feel the community realizes what we do to educate the work force," Mathews said.
    The study's findings were released just before Ogeechee Technical College begins their fund-raising campaign and Thompson said it will make it easier for both the school and those donating.
    "When we go out into the community, it'll be easier to ask and easier for the giver to justify their gift they if they can see the impact we have on the community," Thompson said.
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