Wilk measure creating an Aerospace Institute clears the Senate

SACRAMENTO – The California Senate has passed SB 1356, a measure by Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, which would provide funding for a graduate level Aerospace Institute to be housed at Antelope Valley College.

“This Institute represents endless opportunities for California. The Antelope Valley continues to be America’s most dynamic region for Aerospace and to ensure that industry stays in California, it makes sense to provide it with highly-skilled workers,” said Wilk. “Creating an Aerospace Institute right in the heart of the industry hub will give students access to the industries brightest minds and good paying job opportunities upon graduation.”

The aerospace industry does over $61 billion in economic activity within our states boundaries and relies on highly skilled staff with specialized skill sets. Without an appropriately skilled and/or educated workforce, the industry tends to relocate to areas or the country where the employee pool is deeper and more accessible.

“The Antelope Valley has been home to space shuttles, satellites and stealth bombers. Every day other states are trying to lure this lucrative industry away from California, but with a graduate level Aerospace Institute in the region, providing the industry with highly trained workers, we lay the ground work for keeping this industry here,” said Wilk. “Much like Stanford University was able to transform Silicon Valley in the 1970s, the California Institute for Aerospace would strengthen Southern California’s position as a global leader in the aerospace industry by increasing our public-private partnerships.

SB 1356 would allow an annual appropriation of up to $500,000 in matching funds for the Aerospace Institute at Antelope Valley College if and when the college has received private contributions for support of the industry, among other criteria.

SB 1356 will now go to Assembly for consideration.