Congratulations to the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology for being named College Factual’s best value for physics, engineering, chemical engineering and mechanical engineering, computer science, and physical sciences. Tech landed in the second slot for mathematics. It was #3 for computer and information sciences, and #5 for electrical engineering.
But the school’s stellar performance is offset by an ugly reality: New Mexico is not creating the high-tech jobs needed to keep grads in the state. In 2014, Tech’s president told reporter Mike Bush that “70 percent of his graduates are forced to travel to states such as Texas, Arizona and California for employment.”
It’s likely that nothing has changed since then. The Brookings Institution recently updated its analysis of “advanced industries,” and as the Albuquerque Journal’s Winthrop Quigley noted, despite Sandia National Laboratories, Intel, and the University of New Mexico’s attempts to “license its technologies to local entrepreneurs,” employment in the sector “declined 1.4 percent from 2010 to 2013 and grew not at all from 2013 through 2015. The output of those industries declined 0.6 percent from 2010 to 2013 and declined 2.3 percent from 2013 to 2015. Nationally, output grew 2.7 percent from 2013 through 2015, and employment grew 2.46 percent.”
Quigley examined Albuquerque data, but the statewide picture is just as grisly. Employment growth, between 2014 and 2105, was worse in only Wyoming, Alaska, and Vermont. (The top five states for job-creation all have a right-to-work law.) New Mexico’s overall output during the year was negative — and just one other state saw a decline.
Build a solid science-and-technology university, but fail to adopt economic-development policies that will offer the school’s grads job opportunities. It doesn’t get dumber than that.