U.S. commerce official, L.A. county supervisor promote bioscience industry at Cal State LA
United States Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis visited the Cal State LA campus Wednesday afternoon to promote the development of the bioscience industry in the area.
Williams and Solis are proponents of leveraging the bioscience industry to promote economic development and job creation. They were accompanied on a campus laboratory tour by President William A. Covino, who talked about the University’s successful efforts to prepare students to excel in Ph.D. programs in STEM-related disciplines.
During the tour, Williams and Solis met with students who are conducting research under the direction of professors Howard Xu and Cecilia Zurita Lopez.
Breanna Luna, who is pursuing a master’s degree in biology, talked how about Cal State LA is fueling her interest in science.
“I’m sure your family is proud of you. Congratulations,” Williams told Luna.
Solis, a former U.S. secretary of labor whose 1st Supervisorial District includes the University, said Cal State LA plays an important role in training future researchers who will help the bioscience industry thrive in the area. A majority of Cal State LA students come from Solis’ district.
“As secretary of labor my priority was job creation, and I am continuing that priority in the 1st District,” she said.
Cal State LA is a center of a regional effort to expand bioscience businesses in Los Angeles. The University is currently building a bioscience incubator on its campus with assistance from Los Angeles County, which last year awarded Cal State LA $3 million to support the facility.
The incubator will provide laboratory space to private startup ventures to fuel their growth. Faculty and students at Cal State LA will collaborate with the companies to share expertise that will benefit the University and the private sector community.
Cal State LA has applied for a $3 million grant from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, the agency headed by Assistant Secretary Williams. The federal grant would be used to construct a new building for the incubator on the 175-acre campus.
Local companies have pledged to hire 300 new workers once the incubator is built, anticipated by the end of 2016.