Higher ed will be critical to Amazon's success — and institutions are joining cities to lobby for the new $5B HQ
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has already received 238 applications from the nation's higher ed institutions as of last month to host the company's new $5 billion corporate headquarters, which Bezos proposes will create 50,000 new jobs with average salaries of $100,000 for the areas graduates, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education.
- The move is similar to when Amazon counterpart Microsoft invested more than $1 billion in the University of Washington, creating a pipeline from the institution and others in the city into the company. Bezos' plans are similar as eligibility for the headquarters requires the institution to be in a city with a population of at least 1 million and a strong pool of talented students that are likely to go into a technical field.
- Experts predict that the city will be one which already has a superior reserve of computer science graduates and programs. Though it's likely the move will enhance local economies, many still caution that the influx of Amazon's business could have the negative consequence of raising the city's housing prices, making competition even more difficult for the city's highly skilled laborers, and changing the identity of the city.
Higher education leaders are increasingly realizing the importance of considering the entire education to career pipeline, with many institutions already creating partnerships with K-12 schools to generate more top-tier students. At the same time, institutions must also work with local industry to ensure that strong pathways are being built for graduate students. Like how Microsoft's investment transformed these pathways for the University of Washington and Seattle's other postsecondary institutions, Amazon's placement of its new headquarters will similarly have the potential of setting the winning applicant's future.
For those colleges and universities with already large group of STEM students, applying is a must. For others with weaker pools — moves by these top technical companies demonstrate the importance of higher education groups building out STEM programs and generating more students in these fields, a study demand for students with these majors will only increase. Further, more broadly, it shows the importance of reaching out to local companies to see if they will sponsor any new programs that could simultaneously help the institution and the workforce.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education In the Competition for Amazon’s New Headquarters, Will Universities Tip the Scale?
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