According to a new study issued by the Illinois Community College Board, Spoon River College and the other 47 community colleges in Illinois boost regional economies and are important sources of revenue and employment for the community and regions they serve.

The Illinois Community College system accounts for $3.5 billion in economic output and more than 43,000 jobs throughout state.

“Spoon River College is proud to be a productive partner in the economic viability of the communities we serve and within the State of Illinois,” said Spoon River College president Curt Oldfield. “The output from Spoon River College totals over $12 million and an additional $7.5 million is created because of Spoon River College’s activities.”

The report evaluates Illinois’ community college system on its ability to meet the needs of business and industry, equity, student outcomes, students’ return on investment, and the system’s overall economic impact to local economies and job growth.  The report also examines statewide trends including employment, population, race and ethnicity changes, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fiscal year 2020, Illinois community colleges directly employed nearly 33,000 staff with a total payroll of $1.3 billion. In addition to wages and salaries, Illinois community colleges account for almost $500 million in additional expenses.

“Beyond the effects of direct spending and employment, Spoon River College also strengthens the regional economy by addressing employers’ workforce needs. Our mission at Spoon River College is to provide innovative learning opportunities that enhance the quality of life in the communities we serve,” said Oldfield.

The study found that more than 84 percent of students who earn a long-term certificate or an associate degree in applied science programs are employed in solid paying career jobs within a year of graduation, and yields an average annual rate of return of nearly 27 percent, with an average wage increase of nearly 40 percent one year after graduation.

These direct impacts ripple through the economy creating additional jobs, payrolls, and other economic activity in Illinois.  The total economic output of Illinois community colleges on the statewide economy in fiscal year 2020 is estimated at $3.5 billion and 43,316 jobs

“It is great to see the quantitative data that supports the return on investment of funds from local and state sources. Spoon River College is a great investment and a strong driver in the regional and state economy.”

To review the full report, visit