New economic impact report shows Georgian College alumni add $1.4 billion to regional economy

provided by Georgian College

Georgian College alumni contribute $1.4 billion in added income to the region, according to a recent economic impact study by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI).

“This study quantifies the economic value of Georgian and the significant return on investment for our students, employers and the communities we serve,” said Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO of Georgian College. “Georgian students contribute to the local economy while studying and generate longer-lasting impact as alumni, many of whom will choose to make Barrie and surrounding area their home – they are essential to the success of our local employers, regional economy and they also serve as catalysts for social innovation.”

Innovative Automation co-owner and Vice President of Sales Matthew Setterington is one such alumnus. He says having a college in the community is critical for training and retaining their base of almost 150 employees – 40 per cent of whom are Georgian alumni themselves.

He credits the co-op program as a great introductory point between Georgian students and the advanced manufacturing firm. The company focuses on cross training during co-op work terms so students become well-rounded and try every facet of the business, from wiring to machining to design and programming.

“Not only do we get to try the student but they also get to try us,” said Setterington. “It’s our job to make sure we provide a work environment that challenges these young people and makes them want to stay.”

Setterington relocated to Barrie himself, from southwestern Ontario in the 1990s to study Mechanical Engineering Technology at Georgian, and settled in the area after graduation. As a fan of downhill skiing and mountain biking, the community offered everything he was looking for.

Overall, Georgian College campuses contribute $1.7 billion in income to the Georgian catchment area economy, approximately 5.3 per cent of the total gross regional product. This equates to 22,752 regional jobs, or one out of every 15 jobs in the catchment area.

Georgian alumni and students don’t just contribute financially to the region. The investment analysis shows that for every dollar students invest in their education, taxpayers gain $5.40 in added tax revenue and public sector savings, and society benefits from an additional $8.10 in added income and social savings.

But that’s not all. When Georgian alumni join the workforce of local companies like Innovative Automation, they give back in other ways too.

“One of our core values is giving back to our community and contributing in a meaningful way to societal change,” said Setterington. Employees regularly host barbeque lunch fundraisers, take part in campaigns for United Way and Big Brothers, and each time the company celebrates a five-year anniversary, staff are given a paid day to volunteer with local charities.

The education, workforce and community cycle is one that Setterington is proud to be part of.

“Georgian College, Lakehead and Barrie have been a big part of my life,” he said.” I’m happy to contribute to this community, and to support the employment of a really great local talent base.”

Georgian’s economic impact by the numbers

In addition to the overall Georgian College economic impact described above, the following data applies to the impact of the Barrie Campus specifically:

  • $931.3 million in income to the Simcoe County economy, supporting 12,673 county jobs.
  • $702.8 million in income to the City of Barrie economy, supporting 9,362 city jobs.
  • Student spending adds $64 million to the Barrie economy.
  • The impact of alumni currently employed in the workforce is $483.7 million within Barrie.
  • Overall, alumni from this campus add $719.9 million to the county’s economy.
  • For every $1 a student invests in their education at the Barrie Campus, they’ll gain $1.80 in lifetime earnings.

The results are based on data from 2019-20. Economic impact data specific to all seven campus communities that Georgian College serves is available at

Feature image courtesy Georgian College. Matthew Setterington, co-owner and VP Sales at Innovative Automation, is a Georgian College alumnus