Educating a Workforce for Silicon Valley with Northwestern Polytechnic University Peter Hsieh 


There are fourteen colleges and universities in the Silicon Valley, including elite private schools such as Stanford and Santa Clara University, San Jose State University, and California State University East Bay.

Add Northwestern Polytechnic University to the list. NPU has built a campus in Fremont, California, on a sixty-acre site with its own freeway exit and five minutes from an international boundary crossing into Mexico.

The university is currently serving 1,200 students with degrees in business, software engineering, and electrical engineering. In addition, it has a massive open online course program and a one-hundred-person graduate student body from twenty different countries.

In this interview, Northwestern Polytechnic University Peter Hsieh discusses why NPU is essential to the Silicon Valley workforce and how his experience shaped his school leadership.

What is the history and mission of Northwestern Polytechnic University?

Northwestern Polytechnic University was founded in 1984 as a small, private institution with the vision to prepare its students for leadership roles in a technology-driven industry. Nearly thirty years later, we have grown into one of the largest and most respected universities located right here in Silicon Valley.

This region has a critical need to produce a workforce with the right skills required by local high-tech companies, many of whom cannot find workers with the technical expertise they need to support their businesses. Our mission is simple: we prepare students from all walks of life to become leaders in engineering, business, and information technology-related fields.

What is the focus of Northwestern Polytechnic University?

NPU offers undergraduate and graduate programs in engineering, business, electrical engineering technology, information technology, and software engineering. The curriculum is designed to produce professionals who are highly ethical, globally aware, and capable of meeting the challenges of today’s workforce. We also offer open-source courses that allow students to obtain academic credit for free.

How does Northwestern Polytechnic University prepare its students for the workforce?

A degree from NPU opens doors. Our faculty maintain close relationships with local companies to advise students about internships and jobs after graduation. We also work closely with employers to ensure that our curriculum meets their needs. With support from large employers, industry associations, and local government, NPU helps close the gap between what companies are looking for in their workers and what academic institutions are producing. Most importantly, our students learn how to solve real-world problems and think creatively while working in teams.

Which industries have been the largest employers of NPU graduates?

NPU’s employment statistics from June 2019 show that approximately sixty percent of our graduates were employed immediately after graduation. Our business program is top-rated because we offer many courses and certifications in accounting and business management. As a result, we have many students who go into the finance and real estate industries. Our engineering program also serves a high-demand market because many students choose to work for technology companies in Silicon Valley. We have been most successful with our software engineering program, which has allowed us to form a close partnership with a number of local businesses.

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