ULM’s annual service value impact on the northeast Louisiana region and across the state was $28.5M for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, according to an annual Economic and Community Impact Report published by the university.
“There is never any doubt that ULM and higher education are major economic engines for the regions they serve. That trend plays out not just in Louisiana, but nationwide,” said ULM President Dr. Nick J. Bruno. “If you add Louisiana Tech, Grambling, and Louisiana Delta Community College to this equation, the economic impact across north Louisiana is huge."
For example, when the service value of ULM is combined with the university's other activities and operations, the overall economic impact of just ULM on northeast Louisiana exceeds $300 million, according to the 2009 findings of Applied Technology Research Corporation of Baton Rouge.
ULM’s College of Health and Pharmaceutical Sciences contributed $13.9M in health-related services, including the School of Pharmacy’s Medicaid Outreach Program—which works closely with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and its state-administered pharmacy program—serving 32,846 clients while providing over $11.8M in services across ULM’s pharmacy campuses located in Monroe, Shreveport, and Baton Rouge.
ULM’s Dental Hygiene program provided $300K in dental hygiene services through its on-campus Dental Hygiene Clinic and the Dental Hygiene Mobile Unit, which travels to communities across the region.
Other ULM health-related services available to the region include Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech-Language Pathology.
Louisiana’s Small Business Development Center, the Center for Business & Economic Research, and the Northeast Louisiana Business and Community Development Center—all headquartered at ULM—provided $1.4M in business services to 186 clients.
Another major economic contributor is student internships, where students earn college credit for on-the-job experience and training. ULM filled 2,277 student internships valued at over $13.6M, with 97 percent of those internships coming from 678 Louisiana businesses and organizations.
Kristin Chandler, assistant director of ULM’s Office of Career Connections, which oversees internships, stated, “Today’s job-market economy highly values those college graduates who gained some sort of internship experience during their college career. Over the decades, we have watched the career environment shift from being linear, where once you had a job you stayed with that job or that company, to being more cyclical, where the younger generations will change jobs and companies multiple times.
“Employers recognize this shift, so they are in search of those graduates who possess transferrable skills and soft skills necessary in adapting to any work environment. Internships not only give the students opportunities to gain hands-on experiences, but it also allows them a chance to build a network, mentoring relationships, future references, and a 'real-world' perspective.”
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2016 Survey, employers chose the following as the top four attributes sought on a candidate’s resume: leadership, ability to work in a team, communication skills (written), and problem-solving skills.
“These four attributes are a perfect blend of what’s fostered in the classroom setting as well as in the field. The goal is for our students to graduate with a holistic experiential resume,” Chandler continued.
Beyond Dollars and Cents
ULM has been compiling community and economic impact data for several years. The university's impact is found not only in dollars and cents, but also in quality of life.
Public events occur on ULM’s campus almost daily, whether at the University Conference Center, Student Union Building, or other campus venues. Approximately 56,970 people attended 252 events.
ULM’s School of Visual and Performing Arts—a vibrant culture contributor to the arts in northeast Louisiana—as well as the Museum of Natural History, saw 41,439 guests attend 105 events.
And ULM’s athletic teams—the Warhawks—played 105 games in football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, soccer, softball, and volleyball while being cheered on by 188,609 fans.
The “town-and-gown” relationship between the university and Monroe cannot be overlooked.
Earlier this year, Monroe was named one of “The 50 Best College Towns to Live in Forever” by CollegeRanker.com — and was the only Louisiana city to make the list — alongside other notable college towns such as Athens, Ga.; Auburn, Ala.; Gainesville, Fla.; and Oxford, Miss.
According to CollegeRanker.com the rankings were developed after considering factors such as economy, culture, community, neighborhoods, schools, and alumni retention within the city.
Bruno said he is passionate about the “town-and-gown” sentiment.
“ULM is woven into the fabric of Monroe and northeast Louisiana. Both need each other to grow, prosper, and move forward. Northeast Louisiana is a great place to live, and ULM is a great university. And this university will always be there to serve the region.”