The average GC employee makes two and half times the average income of someone living in Baldwin County, according to Census data and a GC payroll analysis.
The average income of a Baldwin County citizen sits at $19,147, while the average income of an employee at GC is $51,101. GC has 998 full-time employees, including faculty and staff.
In Baldwin County, the median household income sits at $34,595, according to Census data from 2016. In 2017, the median income of full-time employees at GC stood at $43,072. If an employee at GC is married and their partner works, this number jumps even higher.
To put this data into perspective, Cobb County, home to Kennesaw State University, has a median household income of $68,818. The average individual income in Cobb is $34,891.
GC students come from homes earning nearly four times the Baldwin County median income, according to the Equal Opportunity Project’s data cited in a recent article in The Red and Black.
The median family income of students at GC is $114,000.
In addition to this data, GC has no full-time, benefited employees who are earning minimum wage. This information however, does not apply to Sodexo, a private company operating on the GC campus with both full-and part-time employees.
“Let’s just compare teaching jobs,” said John Lindsay, a professor of psychology. “Middle school teachers should make way more money than I make. Middle school teachers should make what professional athletes make because that’s a hard job. Other teachers in the community make less than we do and work harder.”
Lindsay said the statistics can be skewed by outliers at GC reporting higher incomes.
Gregory Barnes, a local pastor and the chair for economic sustainability at the Georgia NAACP, said these figures are unfortunate but unsurprising.
“[These numbers are] expected, sad, but expected,” Barnes said. “This just almost exemplifies that GC is almost in it’s own world here…How do you win industry here, with numbers like that?”
Barnes also mentioned that the main problem in Baldwin County is the lack of strategy to develop entrepreneurship, and that city leaders have not discovered the importance of investing within ourselves.
He said that he carries a quote from the Berry Goldwater Institute with him daily: “Removing barriers to entrepreneurship is a vital component to reducing poverty.”
Barnes mentioned that he feels the lack of strategy in investment for Baldwin County has contributed to low incomes being reported, and that right now, Baldwin County is just hoping that some big company will land here and set up shop. He stated that hoping is not a strategy, and this is the reason why these incomes for Baldwin citizens are so low.
Barnes added that the only way to increase those incomes being reported is to invest in each other, develop a strong strategic plan and start removing barriers for success.
Justin Roush, a professor of economics at GC, commented on the sizeable margin between GC employee’s incomes compared to those of Baldwin County citizen’s incomes.
“That difference is a real problem because if you look at income mobility for an individual who is in a lower income quartile, there’s not a whole lot of places to go to find upper wage mobility because we do not have those high return jobs outside of education and the hospital, whereas you would have lots more opportunities in a bigger city,” Roush said.
Roush also mentioned that Baldwin qualifies as “capital-sparse” or “workplace-sparse,” meaning there’s not enough income to encourage entrepreneurship. He explained: “Somebody with an income of $19,000 is not going to start new businesses.”