Cross says system will ‘scale up’ engineering, business courses

UW System President Ray Cross says the system will have to “scale up” its engineering and business courses following the Foxconn announcement.

But Cross said that won’t just be to help UW students land jobs at Foxconn, noting other companies in the Taiwanese company’s supply chain will grow with it.

“We all realize that we cannot do this alone,” Cross said. “The demand is so large that it exceeds any single campus.”

The nearest four-year campus, UW-Parkside, doesn’t offer engineering degrees but has a partnership with UW-Milwaukee where students can transfer to its engineering school after two years at Parkside.

But Cross noted the campus is well-known for its computer science and app development offerings, which he predicted would expand further.

“Just the attraction of people to the region is going to expand Parkside’s scope,” Cross said. “It’s really an exciting thing for that community.”

Cross said one of his top priorities will be working with Foxconn to offer internship opportunities for UW System students.

“We’re going to be pushing that aggressively, and they seem to be very receptive to that,” he said.

Cross said Wisconsin “should be thrilled” at the partnerships and spin offs that will stem from Foxconn’s work in automation and the so-called Internet of Things.

“This is exciting, and I think it’s something that will help attract the sons and daughters of folks who live here and want their children to stay in this region,” he said.