FRESNO — Salvador Solorio-Ruiz grew up in Delano, a small Central Valley town where 22% of residents live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census. The son of immigrants, however, was bound for something different when he became the first in his family to graduate from college — Fresno State. He returned to his hometown, started working and also ran for — and won — a seat on the Delano City Council.
“Fresno State not only prepared me for my career as a community engagement coordinator with a nonprofit (California Health Collaborative) but as a city councilmember,” he said.
Solorio-Ruiz is one of the thousands of Fresno State graduates now working and contributing to the Valley economy.
A new report from the California State University system underscores the magnitude of the economic impact of Fresno State. For every dollar that California invests in Fresno State, $7.35 in statewide spending is generated. When alumni economic activity is considered, the $1 investment rises to $32.29 in return. In 2018-19, the state’s investment in Fresno State (operating and average capital appropriations) totaled $190.1 million.
In the 2018-19 academic year, Fresno State-related activity supported 11,142 jobs, $438.9 million in labor income and $1.3 billion in industry activity, and contributed $81.2 million in state and local tax revenue, according to the report, “The Impact of the California State University.”
“This report underscores the important connection that Fresno State has with our region,” said Interim University President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval. “We are pleased to be a major contributor to the economic well-being of the Valley, as we have been for over a century.”
“If we look beyond the economic aspect, our University is a regional research hub, a major source of volunteers in community service and the principal preparer of teachers, agribusiness people, business leaders, health care workers, engineers and other skilled workers in the Valley,” Jiménez-Sandoval said.
“A Fresno State education improves the trajectory of the lives of students and their families, and elevates the quality of life of our region.”
Looking at the 23-campus CSU system, $6.97 of positive economic activity is generated for every dollar invested; $23.26 when alumni are considered.
The report includes the contributions of agriculture on CSU campuses, and spotlights Fresno State’s Water, Energy and Technology Center, which typifies the way that CSU research fosters innovation and drives economic impact through close collaboration with private industry partners.
It also highlights the California Agricultural Technology Institute, the Institute for Food and Agriculture and the International Center for Irrigation and Technology, all located at Fresno State.
The report breaks out the joint impacts of the three Valley CSU campuses — Fresno State, California State University, Bakersfield and California State University, Stanislaus — in the 13-county region. Together in 2019, the three campuses spent $1.6 billion on operations, capital, auxiliary and student spending and supported more than 20,500 local jobs, contributed $762 million in labor income and $2.2 billion in regional industry activity, and generated $141 million in state and local tax revenue.
The full report is available on the CSU website.