Wilk push for Aerospace Institute flies through first committee hearing

SACRAMENTO – Today, the Senate Committee on Education unanimously approved Senate Bill 1356 introduced by Senator Scott Wilk, R – Antelope Valley, to provide state funding for a California Institute for Aerospace in the Antelope Valley.

Wilk’s push for an aerospace institute is aimed at preserving expanding the industry’s presence in the Antelope Valley and ensuring career opportunities in aerospace continue to grow for Antelope Valley residents.

“The committee’s decision today moves us closer to a much needed investment in the future of our state through our aerospace industry,” said Wilk. “An aerospace institute will provide this vital industry with a workforce for the future and bring industry experts, academic and research leaders in engineering, physics and other sciences, and students at the graduate level, together in one place.”

The bill will provide up to $500,000 annually from the state to match private sector contributions in support of the Institute which will be housed at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster.

“California’s aerospace industry directly supplies over a half-million careers in California with industry average salaries over $100,000. With the establishment of this institute we can preserve and even grow that number,” said Wilk. “We cannot afford to lose our talented young minds. Instead we must educate and engage them in the vital economic driver that is California aerospace.”

Senate Bill 1356 was approved by the Senate Committee on Education by a unanimous 6-0 vote and will next be heard in the Senate Committee on Appropriations in early May.