Drexel University and DXC Technology are Attracting and Retaining AI Talent

DXC Technology is expanding its partnership with Drexel University’s College of Computing & Informatics and opened a new 5,000-square-foot applied artificial intelligence (AI) studio on Drexel’s campus.

The studio was designed as a study, work, and collaboration space for international students, who are mostly DXC employees from India and the Philippines, and are enrolled in Drexel’s two-year master’s program in computer science, data science, information systems, or software engineering.

International students typically cannot work while studying full-time in the U.S. DXC structured the initiative as a Curriculum Practical Training program so students can continue to work for DXC while being a full-time student.

“This is a very valuable test bed for us to really build a new model for the future of education, training, and talent pipelines in the industry,” said Yi Deng, Dean of the College of Computing & Informatics.

This partnership is expected to attract and retain top talent with experience in AI to Greater Philadelphia and will act as a template for collaboration between industry and academia.

After graduation, DXC will place students in one of their “Digital Transformation Centers” around the world. “[The students are] taking literally what they learned yesterday and applying it to real business problems,” Deng said.

In April of last year, Drexel University was honored as an R1 research institution, a prestigious award for research universities with the “highest research activity.” Drexel University received this ranking due to its ability to attract talented faculty to the area and boost research efforts.

Companies Continue to Favor Greater Philadelphia

The international packaging company, MPS Systems, is in the process of relocating their North American headquarters from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Levittown, Pennsylvania. The deciding factor was Levittown’s proximity to many major cities.

“We have found a brand-new location ideally located between Philadelphia and New York City, providing more travel flexibility than our current North American home in Green Bay,” said Harm-Jan de Jong, Vice President of MPS Systems North America.

MPS opened its first North American facility in 2015 and moved again in 2017.

“Over the years, our North American organization has grown considerably, and now it’s time for a new chapter,” said de Jong.

The relocation is expected to be completed by the end of January 2020 and indicates a trend of world companies positioning offices in our region, finding Greater Philadelphia a great place to do business. A few months prior, Eastern Air Lines moved its headquarters from North Carolina to an approximately 18,000-square-foot space in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Malvern Investment Management Company Holds Billions in Assets

Vanguard, the mutual funds company based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, has experienced substantial growth.

According to the global financial services firm Morningstar, “Vanguard’s 25.6% market share is greater than that of its next three biggest competitors combined.”

The 10 largest asset managers, American Funds, BlackRock, Dimensional Fund Advisors, Fidelity, Franklin Templeton, Invesco, PIMCO, SPDR State Street Global Advisors, T. Rowe Price, and Vanguard, have approximately $13 trillion in assets. Vanguard holds a third of that.

“Decades of doing right by their end investors have been rewarded by steady and growing net new flows into the system,” Morningstar’s Ben Johnson told MarketWatch.

In 2016, Vanguard opened the Vanguard Innovation Center in West Philadelphia to meet the needs of its clients in the digital age. This center continues to foster innovation in Greater Philadelphia and beyond.

Local Businesses and Nonprofits Creating Opportunities in southern New Jersey

Six local nonprofits have joined to launch the Camden Works employment initiative. The goal of this initiative is to match Camden residences with full-time employment and sustainable wages to reduce the city’s unemployment and poverty rates.

“There is no shortage of talented and ambitious people in the City of Camden,” said Congressman Donald Norcross in a press release. “Many new jobs that have come to Camden are now filled by city residents. This initiative will give us the opportunity to build on that progress.”

This four-year job training and employment program will gain resident participation in an effort to boost Camden’s local economy and was developed by the State of New Jersey National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, Latin America Economic Development Association, Center for Family Services, Hopeworks, and Camden County Workforce Investment Board.

Camden’s economy continues to rise as more businesses invest in the southern New Jersey city. By the end of 2023, Hilton Garden Inn will open along the Camden Waterfront and JP Morgan Chase opened the first bank to open in downtown Camden in a decade. Both business expansion projects are creating economic opportunity for the community and its residents.

Fintech Building Opening on the University of Delaware’s STAR Campus

The University of Delaware announced that it will begin another construction project to expand its Science, Technology, and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus.

The university will construct a 100,000-square-foot financial services technology (fintech) building, which will become a collaborative space for Delaware Technology Park startups and students of the university’s business and engineering schools.

“Combining our expertise and resources in these complementary fields will yield exciting opportunities for our students and faculty with meaningful impact on society,” University of Delaware President Dennis Assanis said in a statement.

The $38 million fintech building is expected to open in 2021.

Just six years ago, the University of Delaware invested in the 272-acre land south of its campus that is now known as the STAR Campus. This research center has had tremendous value for innovation, research, and academics alike, and the Greater Philadelphia region.

Electric Vehicles Potentially Expanding Throughout New Jersey

Rowan University has been rewarded a $100,000 grant by the New Jersey State Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to study expanding electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure to local underserved communities.

“New Jersey’s energy future must be as fair as it is clean,” BPU President Joseph Fiordaliso said in a statement. “Initiatives like this … will help us ensure that all communities in New Jersey have access to transformative technologies like EVs.”

Rowan will conduct a market analysis to potentially install plug-in EV infrastructure and usage programs in low-income populations and multi-family residences. This study aligns with Governor Phil Murphy’s goal of putting 330,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2025.

“This new initiative is part of our broader effort to make renewable energy solutions work for everyone in New Jersey,” Governor Murphy said.

Rowan University is also leading a $14.5 million Department of Defense/Army Research Lab project to improve army modernization and safety. Rowan continues to lead initiatives that will grow our region’s innovation economy.

Seven Greater Philadelphia Tech Companies Recognized for Growth

Deloitte, the multinational professional services network, recently released its annual Technology Fast 500. This list ranks the fastest-growing technology companies in North America.

Seven Greater Philadelphia companies were listed as some of the fastest-growing tech companies.

Congratulations to the seven technology companies that are making our region an innovation sector:

This fall, Greater Philadelphia was named the sixth biotech hub in the country for a second year. According to Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, in the past year our region obtained $806 million in 37 venture capital deals, created approximately 48,000 jobs, and has 10.6 million square feet of lab space. Technology companies throughout the region continue to make Greater Philadelphia an excellent place to live, work, and thrive.

Multi-Million Square Foot Development Project Underway in Lower Merion

The New York-based real estate company Tishman Speyer Properties announced plans to add 2.6 million square feet of mixed-use space in Lower Merion Township, PA.

This massive addition will include office, retail, and restaurant space along with a hotel and over 700 apartments at the Bala Plaza in Bala Cynwyd, PA.

“The plan we have unveiled is consistent with our original vision, which was to create a vibrant neighborhood that complements the adjoining communities in Lower Merion and Philadelphia,” said a Tishman Speyer Properties spokesperson.

This new vibrant space is expected to attract residents, employers, and visitors to Greater Philadelphia. Planners of Lower Merion are also considering creating new transportation connections, such as mass transit, scooters, bicycles, or pedestrian pathways.

SEPTA is working towards increasing connectivity throughout the region as well. In early 2019, the transportation company shared upcoming construction plans to extend the Norristown High Speed Line, which will connect the region’s three largest areas of employment —Center City, University City, and King of Prussia.

Greater Philadelphia has Seen Industrial Sized Growth in Recent Years

Greater Philadelphia has experienced tremendous growth in its industrial sector. In the last year, nearly $1.6 billion of industrial space has been traded, an enormous increase from the $166 million in 2009.

Investors search for properties in urban areas that are often less than 200,000-square-feet and seek specific features, such as loading docks, column spacing, ceiling height, and more.

“The reason why these buildings are becoming more valuable in Philadelphia is because you can reach the consumer in a shorter length of time,” said Matthew Marshall, an industrial broker with Cushman & Wakefield.

The change in distribution has played a crucial part in the industrial industry. Customers expect products to be mailed directly to them when years ago customers were more likely to visit a brick and mortar store.

Greater Philadelphia’s transportation network has also been an important factor in the change of distribution and industrial growth. Accessibility to the New Jersey Turnpike, the Port of Philadelphia, and more, have made it easier for products to reach customers quickly, making our region more valuable for companies in need of distribution centers.

In August, Amazon announced that it opened its new fulfillment center in Burlington County, New Jersey. Amazon has become a major employer in the region due to its multiple distribution centers throughout our region.

Our Region’s Transit Ranked First in Connectivity

In September, WalletHub recently ranked 100 U.S. cities for best and worst public transportation across three dimensions: 1) Accessibility & Convenience, 2) Safety & Reliability, and 3) Public Transit Resources. Overall, Philadelphia ranked 89th out of 100 cities for public transportation due to its relatively poor overall scores on Safety & Reliability and Public Transit Resources.

Despite the overall low score from WalletHub, Philadelphia ranked fairly high in various categories, including:

  • First in the nation in the Transit Connectivity Index
  • Tied for the top spot in the Airport Accessibility by Public Transit category
  • Ninth out of 100 cities for Accessibility & Convenience and Safety & Reliability
  • Top 10 across five categories: Share of Commuters Who Prefer Public Transport (#9), Share of Commuters Who Use Public Transit (#8), Average Car Commute Time as a Share of Average Public Transport Commute Time (#6), Transit Connectivity Index (#1), and Airport Accessibility by Public Transit (tie for #1)

It is also important to consider other research sources as well. The AllTransitTM Performance Score ranks Philadelphia 7th best out of 77 of the largest metros in the nation on connectivity, access to jobs, and frequency of service.

By 2023, SEPTA is expected to extend the Norristown High Speed Line in King of Prussia to promote regional connectivity. This new line will continue to improve our region’s public transportation infrastructure and accessibility.