Recording artist Kwanza Jones addresses graduates during the Commencement Ceremony on May 10.

Anew study finds that Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) has an annual economic impact in the Piedmont Triad of nearly $500 million and generates more than 8,400 jobs.

Dr. Zagros Madjd-Sadjadi, the WSSU economics professor who conducted the study, said the majority of the impact – $299.3 million – is from the more than 12,000 university alumni who live and work in the Triad.

“What is the biggest way to get an individual from one economic class to another? Education,” Madjd-Sadjadi said. “WSSU is the best in the southern United States for taking low-income students and graduating them in fields that allow them to do well financially. Our alumni are staying in the Piedmont Triad, and they’re contributing to our tax base. This is huge, not only for the families but for our state.”

WSSU's annual impact on the region increased by nearly $57 million since Madjd-Sadjadi's 2018 study.  He said the biggest factor for this growth is the increasing number of WSSU graduates. Since August 2010, WSSU has awarded nearly 11,000 undergraduate degrees.

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Originally published Aug. 13, 2019.

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