With biotech emerging as one of the fastest-growing industries in Westchester, its clear that Westchester needs to ensure a steady supply of educated workers to keep those companies here—and help lure others. To that end, the Westchester County Association has hatched a plan to hopefully attract an engineering school to the county.
Last week, to build upon the success of the its 2nd annual HealthTech conference in Tarrytown, WCA President Marissa Brett announced that the Association had begun a feasibility study to determine the viability of luring an engineering school to Westchester. “We have the space, the need, and the desire to make Westchester more competitive with technology clusters elsewhere in the nation,” Brett said in a statement.
Though engineering school graduates have traditionally worked in scientific posts or in the construction and building sectors, today’s engineers are also key to the growth of life sciences firms, making the idea of a Westchester engineering school a good fit, Brett said. “Engineering encompasses cancer research, immunology, synthetic biology, and neuroprosthetics. Technology is not all about building Internet applications, but also about bioengineering,” she explained. “Engineering and the life sciences are converging.”
“In Westchester we have the space, the demand, and the commitment to be more competitive,” she added. “Our exploding biotech and health tech industry requires a skilled workforce.”
As phase one of the feasibility study, the WCA engaged Mercy College’s Strategic Consulting Institute to examine existing engineering schools that focus on biomedical engineering—up to twelve schools are currently in consideration. As a next step, Brett announced the formation of a special WCA committee to guide the WCA and participate in the process.
“The committee is comprised of those with engineering, construction, legal, medical, and marketing backgrounds to work with us and to further develop criteria for the selection and evaluation process,” she said.
According to Brett, the committee will take into account existing engineering programs in the New York metropolitan area, as well as what employers in health tech, biotech, medtech, and IT need.
“The object of the feasibility study is to continue to make the metropolitan New York region highly attractive to startup and growth industries, and to spur the economic vitality of Westchester County.”