On the AVC blog by Fred Wilson, he captures the multiplicative value of engineering degrees in the midst of an international and artistic community like New York (or San Francisco, or Austin, for that matter):
You might be surprised to see Stevens Institute and NYU Poly on that list. But I am not. NYC is starved for the kind of technical, quantitative, and analytical minds that engineering schools generate. Combine a big urban center with a top engineering school and you have a recipe to print money. And you have a recipe to change lives. Many of the kids who go to NYU Poly are from immigrant families and are graduates of the NYC public school system. They are smart and work hard. And with an engineering degree and a big city like NYC, they can earn more in a year than their parents earn combined.
Accompanying his post was this graphic:
Which shows how valuable these? schools are.? Of course, I look at these numbers and it sure looks to me like Stanford should be number 1, based on cost, annual ROI, and graduation rate, but what do I know.
The larger point is that we can vastly improve our local economies by investing in these types of majors - even if they never write a line of code, they'll learn how to think like an engineer, with a kind of analysis and logic that balances the arts and liberal arts.
And, it is a good economic investment for the student and their family.