Skip to main content

News & events

Powering progress

Partnerships between UW Engineering and industry drive innovation. Here we outline ten ways that you and your organization can join us in shaping the future of engineering.

A student wearing safety glasses interacting with a prototype illuminated with green light

A student at work in a materials science and engineering lab.

As the demand for engineers skyrockets, so does the need for academic and industry partnerships. Collaborations between the UW and organizations large and small fuel the expansion of the engineering workforce, propel discoveries forward and drive innovation into impact.

Jihui Yang, vice dean of the College of Engineering

“The demand for engineers in the U.S. is reaching critical levels. We’re facing an unprecedented shortage of engineering talent across multiple sectors — from the semiconductor industry and artificial intelligence to the automotive sector’s seismic shift toward electric vehicle manufacturing, as well as in infrastructure and health care.”

— Jihui Yang, vice dean of the College of Engineering


A shortage of engineers could significantly impact the nation’s economic future. Take, for example, the surge projected in the semiconductor industry, which was catalyzed by 2022’s CHIPS and Science Act. With $250 billion earmarked by the federal government and industry, this initiative seeks to bolster domestic microchip technology research, manufacturing and workforce development. However, a considerable gap remains in workforce size and diversity. Washington state alone anticipates a shortfall of 60,000 STEM-trained workers by 2026 to meet the demand for chips.

“The U.S. once led the charge in computer chip production but now relies heavily on outside manufacturers,” says Jihui Yang, vice dean of the College of Engineering. “This dependence poses a significant economic and national security risk, as recognized by the government. While funding is paving the way for new chip manufacturing facilities, the actual shortage of qualified engineers remains a pressing concern. Recently U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo issued a call to universities to triple the number of graduates in semiconductor-related fields, including engineering.”

A robotic arm holding an Amazon package

With support from the UW + Amazon Science Hub, researchers are teaching robots to grasp objects and detect when they are slipping.

Deepening partnerships with industry is a critical step. The College has recently launched several research centers in partnership with industry leaders. These centers, such as the Boeing Advanced Research Collaboration, the Advanced Composite Center and the UW + Amazon Science Hub, cover topics including aerospace, robotics, artificial intelligence, manufacturing, automotive and data science.

“It’s crucial for our partners to contribute to shaping the skillsets engineers need,” Yang says. “This applies not only to chips manufacturing but extends across all industry sectors. Companies bring invaluable insights and resources to engineering research and education: entrepreneurial acumen, idea generation, mentorship, financial support, technology transfer expertise and more.”

Here are ten ways you and your organization can get involved in advancing engineering education and research:

Students working on a laptop inside of an electric vehicle

Through our Industry Capstone Program, engineering students work alongside professionals to tackle real-world workplace engineering challenges.

Students and faculty provide a fresh look and then partner with your team to develop a solution.

For organizations that sponsor projects, the program is a great way to build brand recognition and skills among up-and-coming engineers.

Scientists in lab coats conducting an experiment

Your company can leverage our researchers’ expertise by sponsoring a customized project. Our team can help facilitate the commercialization of innovations by managing intellectual property.

Companies can also support UW research through philanthropic gifts, in-kind equipment and software donations, and product discounts.

We offer over 20 professional programs, including flexible master’s and certificate programs for professionals in all engineering disciplines, to help your employees upskill.

We’re also launching stackable master’s programs, which allow students to “stack” certificate programs and complete a capstone project to earn a master’s degree.

We partner with companies to develop programs in response to industry trends. Your team can learn directly from our expert faculty in online or in-person workshops, and we can learn from you!

Let us know what academic programs you’d like to see to address engineering’s biggest challenges.

Two people shaking hands at a career fair

Partner with our Career Center @ Engineering to post internship and full-time job openings.

Our staff can help your company build recruiting plans and host site visits and networking nights.

By participating in one of our many career fairs, your organization’s recruiters can meet students and advertise your open positions.

Panel speakers sitting speaking at a table at a conference

Professional partners regularly serve as guest lecturers for engineering seminars, conferences, workshops and lecture series.

Partners can also volunteer on our departmental and program advisory boards, which provide counsel, leadership, advocacy and vital connections to industry.

Students standing around a formula-1 racecar

Engineering clubs and teams like Formula Motorsports, Husky Satellite Club and Concrete Canoe help students gain teamwork, leadership and project management skills alongside hands-on engineering experience. These groups rely heavily on community support to fund their projects.

Companies can sponsor teams through financial gifts, materials and equipment donations, professional advising and more.

A person speaking at a round table in a conference room

Share your insights with future engineers through programs like Engineering Exploration Night and Huskies@Work!

These programs bring together professionals and students to discuss career journeys, job experiences and more. Students benefit from your expertise and advice, and you can help inspire the next generation of UW engineers.

Did you know that many of our research labs and facilities can be made available for your company to use?

Businesses can access state-of-the-art research and development facilities at the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds. And the Washington Nanofabrication Facility and Molecular Analysis Facility offer open access to cutting-edge micro- and nanofabrication processing and equipment

One of the simplest ways to partner with us? Subscribe to our Trend in Engineering newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn.

Share our stories and news with your peers and colleagues. Help spread the word about UW Engineering!

Partner with us

Together with industry partners large and small, we are developing a new generation of innovators.

Ready to join us?

Originally published May 23, 2024