By Debora Almeida
After more than 40 years in Fairfield, Conn., General Electric Co.’s (GE) headquarters will be moving to Boston and with it, bringing some changes to the skyline and future prospects of Northeastern students.
“Boston’s schools offer GE a pipeline of talented young workers and a rich network of researchers, academics, students and thought leaders to collaborate with on R&D [research and development],” Jennifer Erickson, senior director of external communications at GE said in a statement to The News. “We value our partnership with Northeastern and look forward to continuing our relationship.”
Though no new co-ops have been officially established, Mary Kane, senior associate co-op coordinator for D’Amore-McKim School of Business, said she is optimistic about future prospects.
“I believe that at this time there is not a final determination as to what functions will be housed in the new headquarters,” Kane said in an email to The News. “However, GE is a very engaged employer partner and supports many initiatives with the university, so it will be terrific to have the management team in Boston.”
The deal greatly benefits both GE and the City of Boston. With the move of its corporate headquarters, GE will bring around 800 jobs to its new home, the Seaport District.
“It’s a great name to have,” third-year economics and finance major Jordan Vallinino said. “GE is one of the oldest and biggest industrial companies in the world and now it’s in Boston, which is pretty great for the city.”
The company also plans to revitalize the area; its main project is a $100 million renovation of the Old Northern Avenue Bridge. While an official location is not yet decided, GE’s focus seems to be on the waterfront, now known as the Innovation District.
“I’m interested to see how they’ll fit in with the modern and tech driven start-up movement in Boston,” junior electrical engineer Matthew Tivnan said of GE’s choice.
While quality of employee life and connections with the world were important considerations for the move, a cost-benefit analysis also took precedence. The city offered GE various benefits to encourage the move of what will become Massachusetts’ largest publically traded company. This amounts to around $120 million in tax benefits and nearly $25 million in property tax breaks, according to The Boston Globe.
“Politically, I don’t know how I feel about all the tax breaks,” Tivnan said. “I think it can put small businesses at a disadvantage.”
However, in a January press conference in City Hall, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said he believes the benefits to the city and future tax revenues outweigh the costs.
Boston’s population of nearly 300,000 students are some possible beneficiaries of this move.
“Not that they’ll be ready by my next co-op, but I would definitely consider working for them full-time,” Vallinino said. “Boston is really cementing itself as a place for huge corporations, and if I’m going to stay here after graduation, then the GE early career financial management program is an interesting one.”
Vallinino’s hopes are similar to those of many college students throughout Boston. Young and burgeoning technological and business minds are exactly what GE is looking for in an employee.
Northeastern already has a strong partnership with GE. Many believe that moving its headquarters closer to Husky territory will expand these opportunities for current and future students.
“Boston is and has been a tech-oriented city,” Tivnan said. “So I’m happy [GE is] coming to continue that vibe.”
Photo by Charles Steiner