The annual economic impact that Grand Valley State University has on the region rose by nearly $40 million to $680.4 million in the 2009-10 fiscal year.

The university issued its yearly economic impact report during its April 29 Board of Trustees meeting.

Grand Valley also reported a record number of students are getting practical experience in the work force, saving employers money and keeping more graduates in Michigan.
The economic impact report covers Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties. The university employs more than 3,000 people and brings nearly 25,000 students to West Michigan.
Some additional highlights are:
* More than 10,200 permanent off-campus jobs in the region exist due to the presence of Grand Valley’s campuses in those communities.
* Grand Valley created 700 trade and construction jobs and pumped $32 million into the economy because of construction projects in 2010.
* Grand Valley alumni now number more than 78,000 with the majority living in Michigan and nearly half living or working in West Michigan’s tri-county area.
For a complete look at Grand Valley’s Economic Impact on West Michigan annual report, visit
As for internships, Grand Valley said more than 6,800 “experiential education opportunities,” which encompasses internships, co-ops, student teaching, and practica, were completed in 2009-10, a 15 percent increase from 2008-09.

Area businesses saved more than $25 million thanks to those opportunities.

The report compiled numbers from the Seidman College of Business, arts and humanities, Kirkhof College of Nursing, social sciences, College of Education and School of Social Work, and science, math and health professions.
Troy Farley, director of Career Services at Grand Valley, attributes the increase to faculty support and a growing interest for local talent.
“Employers in West Michigan and beyond are beginning to understand more and more the value of providing internships and co-ops before hiring,” he said. “Another factor is continued faculty encouragement for students to find experience beyond the classroom.”
Rachel Becklin, assistant director of Career Services and internal internship specialist, said the national conversion rate from intern to employee is about 50 percent.

“The majority of experiential education experiences take place locally, so the chances of a former intern getting hired in West Michigan increases,” she said. “We’re helping to retain local talent in Michigan, which in turn will aide in building Michigan’s economy.”
Of recent graduates, 88 percent are employed or pursuing advanced degrees. Of those working, 84 percent are employed in Michigan. Grand Valley has also seen a one-year, 18 percent increase in Grand Valley graduates who are working in West Michigan — that number went from 58 percent to 76 percent.
This information was also part of a report presented by Career Services to the Grand Valley Board of Trustees April 29.


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