If the companies founded by MIT graduates formed an independent nation, their revenues would propel that nation to the 17th-largest economy in the world, according to a Kauffman Foundation study. But MIT alumni, drawn from all over the world, remain heavily in Massachusetts, where they provide significant economic benefit to their local and regional economies. Could bringing an engineering school to Westchester have similar positive results?
“Unquestionably, yes!” says Bob Roth, a professional engineer and principal at JMC Site Consultants in Armonk. “An engineering school would provide a source of employees for businesses who are here or want to come here. The trouble is Westchester has talented high school students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) who leave and never come back.” The MIT study isn’t surprising, notes Roth, who says companies recruiting top engineering grads from distant schools find it is prohibitively expensive. “Students go to Boston, like what they see and stay. An engineering school here will help Westchester stay competitive.”
Making Westchester more competitive with technology clusters located elsewhere in the nation is exactly why the WCA recently announced the launch of a feasibility study and the formation of a committee (on which Roth serves) to determine the viability of attracting an engineering school to the County. With Westchester’s biotech and healthcare sectors exploding, the need for a new generation of engineers has never been greater, says Marissa Brett, WCA president.
“Engineering is about infrastructure, buildings, and roads, but it also encompasses cancer research, immunology, ‘synthetic biology’ and neuroprosthetics. Technology is not all about building Internet applications, but also about bioengineering. Engineering and the life sciences are converging, and we must excel in research and invention in order to stay competitive,” Brett explains.