Source: Philadelphia Business Journal by Michelle Caffrey | December 4, 2019

Global IT consulting company DXC Technology is setting up shop in Drexel University’s College of Computing & Informatics, as the school plans to unveil a new applied artificial intelligence studio Wednesday that’s designed to expand on the company’s growing partnership with the university. 

The 5,000-square-foot studio — located in the college’s new space that spans three floors at 3675 Market St. —  is specifically aimed at creating a space where 100 international students can study, work and collaborate with each other and other students at the college. The students are studying at Drexel as part of its new partnership program with Tysons, Virginia-based DXC.

DXC (NYSE: DXC) and Drexel’s partnership, a first of its kind for the college, grew out of DXC’s desire to attract and retain top tech talent that are well-versed in technologies like artificial intelligence, as well as the university’s goal of preparing students to meet the industries’ most pressing needs, said Yi Deng, dean of the College of Computing & Informatics. 

“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,” he said, adding that he wants the DXC program to become a template for how industry and academia can work together. He said Drexel, which has one of the oldest and most recognized co-op programs in the country, is in a unique position to make it happen. 

“[The DXC program] is a co-op on steroids,” he said.  

As part of the program, the international students, who are mostly DXC employees from India and the Philippines, came to Drexel this fall to complete a two-year master’s program in computer science, data science, information systems or software engineering. Unlike other international students, who can’t legally work while studying in the country full-time, the DXC initiative is structured as a Curriculum Practical Training program which enables the students to also work for DXC as they study.

After graduation, they’ll be placed in one of DXC’s “Digital Transformation Centers” around the world. DXC employs more than 130,000 globally and works with more than 6,000 clients in 70 countries.

Students in DXC Technology’s program with Drexel University’s College of Computing and Informatics gather in the applied artificial intelligence studio designed to give them space to work and collaborate with both each other and students throughout the college.

A full-time DXC employee will be on site to work with the students in the studio, which is located on the 9th floor of 3675 Market St. The studio is mostly designed to provide designated work space, not hardware, Deng said, as students tend to rely on their own laptops and cloud-based computing to handle the technical side of their work. The space is also designed to be open to all students in the college.

“It is a really well-thought out design, in such a way that it truly eliminates the gap between what is industry space and what’s academic space,” Deng said. 

Technology drives an ongoing “massive transformation” of the global economy, Deng said, and it’s a continuing shift that’s only going to accelerate as AI-based technologies become more prolific. While predictions vary widely, almost all research on the topic predicts AI will spur significant disruptions in the workforce, and there will be a shortage of workers for newly created tech-focused jobs. 

The new program with DXC and studio space is designed to help close that gap both locally and abroad, Deng said, adding Drexel’s already working with DXC to retool its curriculum to bring more industry use cases into its classrooms. 

“[The students are] taking literally what they learned yesterday and applying it to real business problems,” he said. “I’m hoping that by doing this we will create a much bigger, much more robust and rewarding ecosystem in the region by working with industries and truly trying to bridge this gap for the future.”