Officials create task force to help GW benefit from new Amazon headquarters

Media Credit: Grace Hromin | Photographer

Amazon last November announced plans to create 25,000 jobs and invest about $2.5 billion to establish a new headquarters located in Arlington County, Virginia.

Officials have created a University-wide task force to place GW in a position to benefit from Amazon’s new headquarters in Northern Virginia.

University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said the task force, which involves “various faculty and staff” from the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Office of the Vice President for Research, aims to build a relationship between GW and the retail giant. She said task force members are examining how best to attract internship and research opportunities to GW created by the company’s move.

“The purpose of the task force is to strategize opportunities to create and sustain a multi-dimensional collaboration between GW and Amazon,” Nosal said in an email.

Amazon last November announced plans to create 25,000 jobs and invest about $2.5 billion to establish a new headquarters located in Arlington County, Virginia. Nosal said the task force has had communication with leaders at the e-commerce company, adding that officials want to build a relationship between the two entities and use the new headquarters to improve GW’s education and research opportunities and overall student experience.

Amazon declared it would build a second headquarters in North America two years ago and requested proposals from cities hoping to house the company’s new campus. Mayor Muriel Bowser submitted a bid shortly afterward for D.C. to serve as Amazon’s newest hub, touting D.C.’s large college student population.

Lynsay Belshe, the chief administrative and business officer in the Office of the Provost and a member of the task force, said officials first began meeting to discuss the impact of the new Virginia headquarters shortly after Amazon announced the location in November.

“We at GW believe that there could be an opportunity – education, research and economic opportunity – so we decided that we should just start pulling people together,” she said.

She said the membership of the task force, which is still in its initial stages, is still changing. The group has reached out and communicated with Amazon regarding opportunities for collaboration through internships, jobs and research, Belshe said.

Task force members ultimately aim to draft concrete plans to establish a “pipeline” to employment at Amazon for students, she said.

“I think that’s one of the big sections – Amazon needs to build a workforce, and we are in the business of educating people,” Belshe said. “So what are the things that we can do to prepare our students and prepare curriculums for it?”

Amazon officials did not return multiple requests for comment.

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