In a regional labor market study commissioned by the Orange County Regional Consortium in collaboration with Lightcast, an updated Economic Impact Study has been released, featuring the South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD) as an economic engine in Orange County, with a $1.9 billion impact on the local economy.

The study measured the economic impact created by SOCCCD on the business community and the benefits that Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College generate in return for the investments made by stakeholder groups, including students, taxpayers, and the greater community.

impacts created by SOCCCD in FY2020-21, operations spending impact $196.9m + construction spending impact $25.8m + student spending impact $125.1m + alumni impact $1.5b = total economic impact $1.9b or 20,466 jobs supported

SOCCCD creates value in many ways and influences both the lives of students and the county economy. The colleges support a variety of industries in Orange County, serve county businesses, and benefit society as a whole in California from an expanded economy and improved quality of life. Additionally, the benefits created by SOCCCD extend to the state and local government through increased tax revenues and public sector savings.

This study measures the economic impacts created by SOCCCD on the business community and the benefits the colleges generate in return for the investments made by their key stakeholder groups—students, taxpayers, and society.

SOCCCD promotes economic growth in Orange County through its direct expenditures and the resulting expenditures of students and county businesses. The colleges serve as employers and buyers of goods and services for their day-to-day and construction operations. The colleges’ activities attract students from outside Orange County, whose expenditures benefit county vendors. In addition,

The colleges are primary sources of higher education to Orange County residents and suppliers of trained workers to county industries, enhancing overall productivity in the county workforce.


Total Impact

SOCCCD impacts by industry (jobs supported): 2,375 retail trade, 1,973 real estate and rental and leasing, 1,517 professional and technical services, 1,454 healthcare and social assistance, 1,423 accommodation and food services

SOCCCD added $1.9 billion in income to the Orange County economy during the analysis year, equal to the sum of operations and construction spending impacts, the student spending impact, and the alumni impact. For context,

The $1.9 billion impact was equal to approximately 0.6% of the total gross regional product (GRP) of Orange County.

This contribution that the colleges provided on their own was more than twice as large as the Mining, Quarrying, & Oil and Gas Extraction industry in the county. SOCCCD’s total impact can also be expressed in terms of jobs supported. The $1.9 billion impact supported 20,466 county jobs, using the jobs-to-sales ratios specific to each industry in the county. This means that

One out of every 114 jobs in Orange County is supported by the activities of the colleges and their students.

In addition, the $1.9 billion, or 20,466 supported jobs, stemmed from different industry sectors. For instance, among non-education industry sectors, the spending of SOCCCD and their students and the activities of their alumni in the Real Estate & Rental & Leasing industry sector supported 1,973 jobs in FY 2020-21. If the colleges did not exist, these impacts would not have been generated in Orange County.

Summary of Investment Analysis Results

The results of the analysis demonstrate that SOCCCD is a strong investment for all three major stakeholder groups—students, taxpayers, and society. As shown, students receive a great return for their investments in an education through SOCCCD. At the same time, taxpayers’ investment in SOCCCD returns more to government budgets than it costs and creates a wide range of social benefits throughout California.

student perspective: presnet value benefits $1.2b, present value cost $271.9m, net perspective $885.5m, benefit-cost ratio 4.3, rate of return 14.8%, taxpayer perspective: presentvale benefits $567.6m, present value costs $306.9m, net present value $260.7m, benefit cost ratio 1.8, rate of return 3.1%, social perspective: present value benefits $7.1b, present value costs $0.6b, new present value $6.5b, benefit cost ratio 11.9, rate of return n/a


The results of this study demonstrate that SOCCCD creates value from multiple perspectives. The colleges benefit county businesses by increasing consumer spending in the county and supplying a steady flow of qualified, trained workers to the workforce. SOCCCD enriches the lives of students by raising their lifetime earnings and helping them achieve their individual potential. The colleges benefit state and local taxpayers through increased tax receipts and a reduced demand for government-supported social services. Finally,

SOCCCD benefits society as a whole in California by creating a more prosperous economy and generating a variety of savings through the improved lifestyles of students.

Read the full SOCCCD report 

Read the Irvine Valley College report

Read the Saddleback College report

View the District press release

Orange County Community Profile

As one of our key community partners, the Orange County Business Council (OCBC) serves as a trusted resource for information about the business community and local economy that contribute to our planning, advocacy, and outreach activities. The Orange County Community Indicators Report is one of several reports published by OCBC. Each year, the O.C. Community Indicators Report, developed in collaboration with CalOptima Health, Orange County Community Foundation, First 5 Orange County, and Orange County United Way, examines how the nation’s sixth largest county is doing in terms of education, infrastructure, health, income and the economy.

Key Summary of the OC Community

Full Report on O.C. Community Indicators