Nicholls a substantial economic engine, study shows

THIBODAUX – An economic impact study commissioned by the University of Louisiana System – Nicholls State University’s governing body – concludes that the continued success of Nicholls strongly impacts the economic success of the Bayou Region. The study focuses on spending, education, research, service and quality of life.

“This study documents the importance of our institution,” Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, Nicholls president, said. “I encourage everyone to read it. The Bayou Region is rightly proud and protective of an uncommon resource like Nicholls – and those of us in the university family are indeed privileged to be part of the institution’s 60-year history of making life better for those we serve.”

In terms of spending, the study shows that every dollar invested in the university increases by a factor of eight as it cycles through the Bayou Region’s economy. Moreover, the university’s annual expenditures generate a regional wealth increase of $274 million – along with a workforce boost of 2,843 full-time, non-university jobs in fields such as construction, health care, food services and many others.

The university’s primary mission – educating the professionals of tomorrow – strengthens the workforce as well. Since the founding of Nicholls, 37,288 degrees have been awarded – 9,752 in the past 10 years alone. They include 7,254 bachelor’s degrees, 1,193 master’s degrees and 1,305 associate’s degrees. Today, these professionals can be found in such industries as health care, petroleum services, culinary arts, science, business and education. These graduates have added $526 million to the region and state’s economy over the last decade.

Also fueling the Bayou Region’s economy are the various research and service programs at Nicholls – each of which is designed to stimulate new and established industries in surrounding parishes. Nicholls currently supports 28 of these programs, including two economic development initiatives; two engineering and technology programs; three cultural development programs; five environmental and natural science projects; and 16 education, health and human services activities.

The remaining focus of the UL System study – quality of life – is largely immeasurable. In short, the Bayou Region community relies on Nicholls to serve as the hub for cultural programming, family friendly activities and community-building events beyond standard university activities. A prime example is Jubilee: A Festival of the Arts and Humanities at Nicholls, which attracted more than 11,500 visitors in 2008. Moreover, Nicholls faculty, staff and students volunteered approximately 176,000 hours of community service in 2008 – a direct result of the university’s service-learning and volunteerism initiatives.

“The upshot of the study is clear,” Hulbert said. “In terms of educational opportunity, community service, locally oriented research, cultivation of the arts and generation of economic activity, Nicholls is an invaluable resource to the Bayou Region.”

The UL System study was conducted by Applied Technology Research Corporation located in Baton Rouge, UL System staff and research teams from each of the system’s eight universities. The Nicholls impact area includes Assumption, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. James, St. Mary and Terrebonne parishes.

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