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Northeastern’s Momentum Helps Seattle Bridge the High-Tech Talent Gap
Seattle is a city that fosters innovation—a word Northeastern University knows well. Recognized as a top-50 research university, Northeastern has been educating the next generation of forward-thinking, globally minded working professionals since 1898.
It is that dedication to innovation that attracted Northeastern to Seattle. In 2011, the university opened a graduate campus in South Lake Union, which was designed to meet the needs of the city’s growing economy—anchored by companies like Amazon, Boeing, and Microsoft and complemented by a vibrant startup community.
“Three years ago, our ‘campus’ started with one small office and a clear vision for a new graduate campus in Seattle,” says Tayloe Washburn, dean of Northeastern University—Seattle. “With a goal of turning that vision into a reality, the real work began.”
The university hired staff, recruited adjunct faculty from Amazon, Boeing, and Microsoft, and began offering programs uniquely aligned with Seattle’s economic development and workforce priorities. In just three years, nearly 400 students from across the region have enrolled in Northeastern’s high-demand science, technology, engineering, and math programs. This past June, the campus celebrated its first graduating class.
“These bright young minds are entering the workforce with degrees such as Masters in Computer Science, Public Administration, Regulatory Affairs, Nonprofit Management, Engineering Management, Leadership, Global Studies, MBAs, and others,” says Washburn. “We also have our first Doctor of Education graduate, Dr. Dana McNamee.”
The growing demand for Northeastern’s graduate degree and certificate programs incited the university to add 10,000 square feet of new space to its Seattle campus to increase the number of classrooms and student study and collaboration areas.
“Our newly renovated spaces will allow us to accommodate the recent growth in our enrollment,” says Washburn, “and the growth we anticipate in the future—all situated in the heart of Seattle’s innovation hub.”
To further that growth, Northeastern has taken an innovative approach to bridging students without a technology undergraduate degree into in-demand fields like computer science. This program, called Align, is attracting a diverse set of students with backgrounds in liberal arts and the sciences into the booming tech sector.
What sets Northeastern apart from the rest?
Northeastern’s focus on graduate science and engineering degrees in the Seattle area is an expansion on the university’s century of leadership in engaging with employers and other partners through experiential learning and collaborative research. Experiential learning, powered by Northeastern’s signature co-op program, offers roughly 16,000 undergraduates and nearly 8,000 graduate students the opportunity to integrate their studies with professional work at 3,000 organizations on seven continents.
“At any point in time, more than 5,000 Northeastern undergraduates and graduates are working in their field of study,” Washburn says. “Experiential learning is a key trademark of Northeastern, and has been recognized as the national leader by Princeton Review several times in recent years.”
To complement the university’s national recognition, Northeastern has expanded its flexible, industry-aligned programs, available in hybrid and online formats, beyond its flagship Boston campus to Charlotte, North Carolina, San Jose, California, and Toronto, Canada–each campus uniquely positioned to meet the economic needs of the city. In Seattle, the model is expected to only gain in momentum.
“Over time, we anticipate our campus will serve as a conduit for additional research,” Washburn says, “partnering Northeastern faculty and researchers with innovative thinkers and leaders throughout Washington.”
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The Northeastern Advantage
Northeastern University is grounded in an innovative idea — that education is about is engaging with the world to solve problems and lead change.
This idea is something we put in motion on a daily basis. We’ve established working relationships in Boston, in hundreds of communities in the United States and in more than 90 countries around the world, including with 3,000+ organizations in business and finance, healthcare and law, education and research, and community service and government.
These highly specialized partnerships are the backbone of an education grounded in experiential learning. Experiential learning transforms “global” and “innovative” from concepts to actions, makes our students and our degree programs more interactive, and invigorates an approach to research that translates knowledge into solutions.
In today’s rapidly changing economic landscape, Northeastern offers flexible, challenging degree programs that connect students with emerging fields, make them problem solvers in the global economy, and prepare them for a lifetime of learning — in Boston, Charlotte, Seattle, Silicon Valley and beyond.