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Released July 30, 2004


HATTIESBURG - Besides its direct benefits for participants in its programs, the Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies at The University of Southern Mississippi also has a significant impact on the local economy, according to an analysis of the center.

The Center for Community and Economic Development at Southern Miss recently partnered with the Karnes Center to complete a study of the economic impact of the Center for Gifted Studies. The report examined all of the programs conducted by the Karnes Center over the last year, including those for elementary and secondary school children and youth.

The programs included the Saturday Gifted Studies Program, Summer Gifted Studies Program, and the Summer Program for Academically Talented Youth. Included in the study were the Day of Sharing for Teachers of the Gifted, conducted in both the spring and fall semesters, and the Parenting Gifted Children Conference. Data was also collected and analyzed on the number of graduate students enrolled in classes in gifted education, and other information examined included a federal grant and monies garnered from private donations.

Beyond the scope of the current study was the impact of state funding in gifted education in the public schools.

"The study includes the impact components of employment directly associated with the center, associated employment as a result of a university-related multiplier and programming and participant spending," said Mark Goodman, director of the Center for Community and Economic Development.

Currently, the center directly employs seven full-time equivalent (FTE) personnel and provides programming for nearly 1,000 participants annually through a variety of venues.

The analysis measures the center's economic impact in several ways, including the direct economic impact associated with the operation and employment of the facility; the indirect economic impact associated with new businesses that the direct impact generates throughout the economy; the induced economic impact that the direct and indirect growth will have on the retail sector of the state through expenditures by direct and indirect employees, as well as through spending of nearly 1,000 participants throughout the economy; revenues generated to Mississippi from sales, income, and other taxes and revenues generated to local jurisdictions from sales rebates and property taxes.

The direct employment refers to the seven FTE staff members, including the director and other office staff, as well as instructors for programming. The indirect jobs result from the multiplier effect. These indirect effects include retailers and service establishments, as well as suppliers to The University of Southern Mississippi and other related jobs.

The induced jobs are created in the retail sector from activity generated by the expenditures of the wages and salaries paid to the direct and indirect employees, along with participants' spending at the university and in area retail venues.

A total of 26 jobs exist through the center, including 19 'indirect' jobs created as a result of the spending of both the participants of the center and the seven FTE positions.

The economic impact of the center is not measured as one value. Rather, it is represented as the value of several components independent of each other. The total income generated from these positions was $552,207. The total retail sales generated was $1,073,925 and the total tax revenue generated was $131,051, including $40,000 locally.

Dr. Frances Karnes, director of the center, said the popularity of programs continues, with more offerings annually for participants. "Each year our programs continue to grow in cultural offerings, recreational activities and academic endeavors," she said.

Southern Miss Research Foundation President Dr. Angeline Dvorak praised the contributions of the Karnes Center to both the education of gifted youth and to the area economy.

"Our commitment to gifted education as a nation is critical to our competitive advantage in a global economy, and the local economic impact of the center, as found in this study, demonstrates its role as a catalyst in our own community," Dvorak said.


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August 31, 2004 3:13 PM