This column originally ran in the San Marcos Daily Record on September 16, 2020.
Texas State University, an emerging research institution, is our region’s most crucial economic development asset, partner and catalyst for economic growth.
More directly, Texas State is a key contributor to the growth of the economy in our two-county region (Hays and Caldwell Counties) as well as an economic powerhouse for central Texas. The university should be viewed in three primary ways. First, the university acts as an accelerator to employers by fostering an environment of ingenuity and innovation. Second, it provides a direct pipeline of a well-trained and educated workforce. And third, the vibrancy and depth of sophistication its students, faculty and staff add to our local community is unparallel.
A university is a major advantage to attracting and retaining businesses. As you may already know, the Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) is a public-private non-profit organization that proactively recruits new employers to the region and supporting current employers’ growth. Prospective employers are consistently interested in developing relationships with Texas State to support the growth and innovation of their business model while forging new relationships with faculty and students.
These businesses also look toward Texas State’s Science, Technology, and Advanced Research (STAR) Park, which is the only facility of its kind in Texas. This technology incubator fosters the development of the innovative companies and products of the future. As these companies mature and begin producing a product, growth and new high-quality jobs are sure to follow. With pioneering companies like Tesla and Amazon calling this area home, STAR Park will be an invaluable asset to help them deepen their roots in Central Texas.
In addition to research and development opportunities, workforce capability is the most important factor in attracting new companies. Decision makers choose communities that can fulfill their workforce needs with smart, skilled and hard-working talent pools. In the last year, Texas State University has graduated nearly 9,000 students and many will decide to stay in the region to become a part of our workforce. In the last 10 years, our region’s total workforce has grown more than 45% - there’s no doubt Texas State is a significant contributor to this growth.
Of course, with growth, there comes a boost to the local economy. When Texas State students, faculty and support staff spend their dollars at local businesses, more jobs get created to support the demand of their consumer spending. Based on a 2014 economic study, Texas State generates a direct spend of roughly $812 million just here in Hays County alone. In addition, the region’s sales tax revenue base also increases, which allows for increased services by local municipalities.
We also must not overlook the quality of life benefits that come from being home to the state’s fifth-largest university. Texas State brings world-class entertainment, arts and sports to our community. By enhancing the vibrancy of our community, the city and region become an even more desirable place to live and work. When possible again, I highly encourage you to attend, participate and support all the university offers to make our community the special place that we know it is.
By providing the business community opportunities to access its research expertise, growing our region’s workforce talent and directly pumping dollars into our economy, Texas State University is a vital contributor and advocate for enhancing the quality of life for our residents. They truly are at the center of what makes us the Texas Innovation Corridor.
Their role in economic development is absolutely crucial to guiding the long-term economic vision of our region.
I welcome your thoughts and questions about Texas State’s role in economic development for our region. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me at @JasonGiulietti.