engineering

Engineering in Denver South: Where new talent meets jobs

Denver South is home to 340 engineering companies that employ 6,820 people. And, these jobs pay well, with an average annual salary of $99,190.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey, Denver South has almost double the concentration of employment in architecture and engineering occupations, at 3.4 percent compared to 1.8 percent nationally.

Why is Denver South an engineering hot spot? In part it’s because the region is home to a highly skilled workforce, with a pipeline of newly educated employees from local universities that lead in the field. And, the field is big, with engineers needed across Denver South’s leading industries, from designing rockets to problem-solving the metro area’s traffic woes.

Engineering Jobs in Denver South

According to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report, the best engineering jobs include cartographer, civil engineer, mechanical engineer, environmental engineer, environmental engineering technician, biomedical engineer, architect, and petroleum engineer. These roles all have homes in the Denver metro area.

Even though cartographer might seem like something from a century gone by, they are needed in the development of the geographic information system (GIS) applications. Think Google Maps.

And the rest are needed right here in Denver South to fill spots in industries including aviation and aerospace, broadcasting and telecommunications, energy, and engineering services fields.

The Major Players

Leading engineering companies in Denver South include Merrick & Company, Burns & McDonnell, Felsburg Holt & Ullevig, a large presence of Jacobs Engineering Group (formerly CH2M Hill), and AECOM.

Smaller firms include Stanley Consultants and R.J. Pagan & Associates located in Castle Rock, which recently completed the E-470/I-70 Design-Build Interchange.

The Schools

Denver and the surrounding region have top-ranked graduate and undergraduate engineering education programs. In the 2020 U.S. News & World Report, The College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder), Colorado School of Mines (CSM), and the College of Engineering at Colorado State University (CSU) ranked within the top 100 graduate engineering programs. CU Boulder ranked 31nd, CSM ranked 58th, and CSU ranked 61st.

The College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU Boulder, CSM, the College of Engineering at CSU, the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU Denver, and the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Denver ranked among nation’s “Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs” that offer doctoral degrees.

This means a pipeline of newly educated engineers for local companies and national and international companies with a local presence.

And, these schools aren’t looking to lose their rank. The University of Colorado Denver recently announced a new model for its school of engineering, to be called the College of Engineering, Design and Computing (CEDC). The innovative model will teach technical skills, account for quickly changing technology, and train its students on human, social and entrepreneurial skills.

A Region That Encourages STEM

In Denver South, we are thinking about the next generation already, with programs like Engineering For Kids, which is designed to “bring the fun of science, technology, engineering, and math education to kids,” ages 4 to 14, through exciting camps, after-school activities, parties, and classes that encourage kids to design, build, test, and refine their own creations.

The South Denver campus of CU also offers a Mini Engineering School, designed as a learning opportunity for a range of prospective or non-engineers with an interest in engineering, including working professionals, retirees, and high school students. The large concentration of engineering firms and students also creates ample opportunity for internships, helping students to understand how engineers make an impact while also preparing them for job opportunities in their futures.

Engineering is part of the fabric of Denver South, working to make things—from cell phone reception to energy to traffic—function better. And, with its top firms and graduating classes of new talent each year, Denver South is well positioned to keep doing so.

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