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Opinion: NYU's $1B for Tandon a Wise Investment in Tech

New York University's plan to spend $1 billion over a decade on facilities, faculty and curriculum for its Tandon School of Engineering is a praiseworthy investment in New York's competitiveness in the tech sector.

New York University
(TNS) — In the long sweep of baseball history, the Red Sox have got nothing on the Yankees. But even we must admit: Boston’s got the upper hand on us when comparing the Patriots to the Jets (or Jets and Giants combined), the Celtics to the Knicks, the Bruins to the Rangers — or MIT to any NYC engineering rival.

That could begin to change with NYU set to invest $1 billion over a decade in its Tandon School of Engineering, upping an existing $600 million commitment. We couldn’t be more excited.

Tandon — the result of a 2008 merger between NYU’s engineering school and Polytechnic Institute of New York — is already a major presence in Downtown Brooklyn. Now it’ll build that out with upgraded lab and classroom space, 40 new tenure-track faculty members, and an intensified focus on emerging fields like artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

We hope for healthy, friendly rivalries with Columbia’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science uptown, CUNY’s Grove School of Engineering and the New York City College of Technology, Cornell’s terrific tech campus on Roosevelt Island, Cooper Union’s Albert Nerken School of Engineering, Fordham and others. We need ever more connections between these institutions of higher education, some of which cost a robotic arm and leg to attend, and K-12 public schools to give kids from all backgrounds a pathway into well-paying jobs.

New York’s tech sector employs 172,000 people, a number that grew by more than 9 percent in 2020, even as the private sector overall lost 12.6 percent of its jobs. Once struggling to compete with Silicon Valley, New York now leverages its diversity of talent and its economic ecosystem to give the Bay Area a real run for its money.

It was a massive mistake that grandstanding politicians chased away as many as 40,000 jobs when one of the world’s leading tech companies, Amazon, wanted to create a major presence in Long Island City, but that wasn’t the end of the story. Post-pandemic, New York is struggling with many economic challenges. Go, tech, go.

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