TransformSC joined the Alliance for Excellent Education, Lexington County School District One and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 11 to host “The #GradEffect: The Economic Impact of an Increased High School Graduation Rate,” a day-long conversation around how increasing South Carolina’s high school graduation rage can boost South Carolina’s economy by creating jobs and increasing consumer spending.
Business leaders, educators and community members gathered for the day to discuss the potential impact and new data published by the Alliance for Excellent Education linking improved educational outcomes to economic gains.
The new research found that raising South Carolina’s high school graduation rate in 2015 from 80.3 percent to 90 percent, or an additional 5,240 high school graduates, would likely have yielded $92.6 million in gross domestic product, plus the creation of 200 new jobs. Those additional graduates would have made an additional $61.3 million in income per year.
Higher earnings would have translated to a combined $13.9 million in additional federal, state and local tax revenue; $110 million in home sales; $9.9 million in automobile sales; plus an increase of $47.1 million in overall spending.
“The data confirm what we’ve always known — that you can’t separate education from the community at large,” said Susie Shannon, president and CEO of the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness.
Attendees also heard from an array of speakers, including:
- Keynote speaker Dr. James Johnson, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Director, Urban Investment Strategies Center, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill;
- Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education;
- Lou Kennedy, President, Chief Executive Officer, and Owner of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation;
- Tim Arnold, President and Chief Executive Officer, Colonial Life;
- Jessica Jackson, Director of Global Corporate Citizenship, Boeing South Carolina; and
- Meredith Love and Matt Nelson, who direct the Center of Excellence for College and Career Readiness at Francis Marion University.