I talked about “Basic” industries in the last post. A basic industry is one that brings in money from outside the community. Impact “multipliers” are based on the idea that every dollar a “basic” industry brings in circulates, so its effect is multiplied.
Big box stores are not basic – they come into a community to take money out. If they replace locally-owned stores they actually reduce the multiplier.
It will be a surprise to many, but Laurentian University is one of Sudbury’s most important basic industries. Half of the students come from outside of the region. If 3,5000 outside students spend a bit more than $20,000 on average each year, the university brings in a minimum. $70 million per year. It also keeps another $70 million from local students in the community.
The University is one of our most important growth industries. Every new program attracts additional students. The architecture school, for example, will eventually add over 450 students and at least $4 1/2 million new dollars each year. The proposed School of Performing and Creative Arts (SCAPA) will eventually add at least 200 students. Other recent spurts of growth have come from the medical school and the growing Bharti School of Engineering.
Laurentian also spins off other jobs: Science North, for example, now provides about 70 full time jobs and about 150 part time jobs. Science North is a “New Economy” industry. It produces information and media products. Media and information are the growing sector of most advanced economies.
There is a lesson here – the citizens who created Laurentian also created an economic engine for the City. As part of its economic strategy the community and the university have to work together to grow new programs and recruit new students. Growing the university is too important to leave to the university administration – It has to be a high priority job for the city’s economic planners.
Growing the University is also one of the key jobs for the City’s MPP. It took a political fight to get a medical school. We will have to fight to make Laurentian the mining research center for the province. The smarter and tougher our MPP the more jobs we get.