If you have been through downtown Boise lately you may have seen the major construction project that has overtaken half of The Grove and started to dig a new hole around the U.S. Bank building in the heart of the city.
Boiseans are wary of downtown holes, because our famous one at the corner of 8th and Main streets was empty and ugly for so many years. But we are pretty happy with this one — and not in small part because the very people who filled that longtime eyesore with the beautiful Zions Bank building are, in fact, in charge of digging this one.
The Gardner Company is working with a host of public and private partners to create an important hub of transportation, technology and commerce that will help poise Idaho’s capitol city for a strong future — and we at Boise State University are incredibly pleased to be part of this effort.
When these buildings and the below-ground transit center are completed, Boise State will move its entire computer science department to a building shared by one of the largest tech companies in town, Clearwater Analytics, and within walking distance of some 20 or more of the city’s software developers and related technology businesses.
This will present an unprecedented opportunity for these students to intern and connect with the very businesses that are clamoring for their skills. In fact, Boise State’s computer science graduates are in such demand, a consortium of eight tech companies last year gave more than $280,000 in private dollars to secure a $1 million state grant that will help double the number of these sought-after graduates.
Partnerships like these offer the kind of unique, high-quality undergraduate experiences that are among Boise State’s hallmarks. When students get a chance to learn from hands-on research or real-world internships, they start to better piece together the hard skills they have learned in their fields of study with the so-called “soft” skills of teamwork, communications and problem-solving they will need to be successful in their chosen career paths.
Boise State strives to create these opportunities at every level, and we have reimagined our general education programs around a pathway that develops and builds on these skills and connections. We are taking this to a whole new level with our new College of Innovation and Design, which will launch new ways to teach, research and learn, like the developing a “Bridge to Career” program that is being designed to help students from all majors hone the competencies their future employers value the most.
We know this model works — we built our renowned College of Engineering over the course of two decades with the close partnership and generosity of Micron Technology, and that college’s world-class research, commitment to Idaho’s tech community, and devotion to boosting science, technology, engineering and math instruction at all levels delivers on Micron’s investment every day.
University faculty and administrators are reaching out more and more to our community’s and region’s businesses and industries for partnerships and insights to best prepare the workforce and the innovators needed for Idaho’s future. The university’s doors and minds are open — we need leaders like you to help us make these next great steps.
Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.