On Thursday, the University of Washington hosted a groundbreaking event celebrating the start of construction for their new Interdisciplinary Engineering Building (IEB), made possible in part by a new $5M donation from T-Mobile. As part of the agreement, the Engineering Academic Center will also be named by T-Mobile in the coming months.
By supporting the development of this new learning facility, the Un-carrier continues to further its commitment to enabling students from diverse backgrounds to have a modern, inclusive, state-of-the-art environment in which to collaborate and experience top-notch engineering and STEM education, while fueling future innovation.
"T-Mobile is committed to helping prepare the next generation of engineers and as one of the largest employers of UW College of Engineering graduates, we felt it was critical to invest in a big way to support the advancement and development of the best talent for our collective region and local economy," said Neville Ray, president of technology, T-Mobile. "We also anticipate that the new Interdisciplinary Engineering Building will offer more opportunities for T-Mobile to join with the university and students on leading-edge technologies that further advance the possibilities of 5G."
T-Mobile has been working together with the UW for more than a decade to address the increasingly high demand for trained engineering talent. In 2017, Ray put a call out to the state of Washington to train more engineers, helping drive further awareness of the escalating need for a stronger engineering talent pipeline that supports local private and public companies like T-Mobile.
That same year, according to the UW, the state of Washington ranked 49th in the nation in the production of engineers, making it clear there was not enough capacity in state institutions to keep up with the demand for talent.
Fast forward to today, and that call to action has started to pay off. Over the past decade, the UW has nearly doubled the number of undergraduate and graduate engineering degrees - but classroom and activity space has not kept up. Projects like the Interdisciplinary Engineering Building (IEB) that are backed by both public and private investments – are essential for creating a new home for engineering students and for fueling a healthy, thriving workforce of the future.
"Our great public university is dedicated to creating access to excellence for the students of our state," said UW President Ana Mari Cauce. "We couldn't accomplish this without the help of T-Mobile. With this new facility, we will be able to open doors of opportunity for even more talented, driven future engineers. These future innovators, creators and entrepreneurs will get the kind of student-centered, hands-on training that will empower them to take on the biggest challenges facing our communities."
As the world evolves, so will the need for tomorrow's talent to come into careers capable of problem-solving with a multidisciplinary mindset. T-Mobile, like many others, looks to higher education institutions including the UW to prepare students for the jobs, and challenges, of the future.