Praise for Locke's support of technology institute at UW Tacoma

“At right, Jamie Chase.This past week, Gov. Gary Locke proposed creating a new state technology institute at the University of Washington, Tacoma (UWT) to address the high-technology workforce gap between the supply of workers with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and the industry’s demand. After the governor’s technology summit in October, Tacoma’s Mayor Brian Ebersole praised Locke for focusing on increasing the number of two- and four-year degrees awarded each year in the high-tech fields and for choosing Tacoma as the right place to do it. Ebersole also commented that establishing an expanded degree offering at the UWT is the first step toward obtaining federal research dollars.The governor’s proposition requires $7.5 million in funds that will be matched with $4million in private funds to establish the institute in Tacoma. Plans call for the UWT to enroll 160 full time students in the institute by 2003.UWT’s program will be developed in collaboration with the UW Seattle Computer Science and Engineering program, one of the top ten computing programs in the nation. This association will help attract quality faculty members who need to be connected to research activities such as those based in Seattle. This connection also brings benefits of research to a new area of the state.Faculty hired to work at UWT can participate with research in Seattle, says Mike Wark, spokesman for UWT. The nature of the research is that they will likely work on it in Tacoma. People in the South Sound region interacting with these professors will also be interacting with this leading research.Paul Sommers and Daniel Carlon, researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle, this year released a report providing the ten steps to a metropolitan high-tech future. The case study done in Seattle reveals that a research presence is essential to high-tech economic development.Advanced technology does not blossom in the desert after a rainfall; it is the result of long term, high quality research programs that at some point bear fruit in terms of commercializable technologies, report Sommers and Carlon.The governor selected Tacoma because the location is near enough to the Seattle technology core that the economic vitality would expand to the South Sound. This institute will be a tremendous educational resource for the state, says UWT Chancellor Vicky Carwein. We are close enough to the industry core that our students can benefit from a strong internship program, and the institute can benefit from other connections to industry. Yet we are far enough away that creating of the institute will spawn an economic boom in the South Sound region, which has yet to fully benefit from the state’s high-tech prosperity.Tacoma is already seeing a dramatic increase in the number of technology startups and transplants and has adopted a theme as America’s #1 wired city because of the extensive fiber optic connectivity available throughout the city. The addition of a technology institute involving research is seen by many of Tacoma’s leaders an essential pillar to drawing additional technology investment dollars and business opportunities. “