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SACRAMENTO - Today, Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, announces Senate Bill 1356 (SB 1356) was unanimously passed by the Senate Committee on Appropriations. SB 1356 provides funding for an Aerospace Institute to be housed at Antelope Valley College.

"The Antelope Valley is home to California's aerospace industry, an industry that directly supplies over a half-million mortgage paying jobs in California with average salaries over $100,000," said Wilk. "Creating an institute in the heart of the industry will bring the best and the brightest minds to the region and help California retain our homegrown talent. I am very pleased to see this measure move forward."

The aerospace industry does over $61 billion in economic activity within our states boundaries. However the industry 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.

"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," said Wilk. "We have some of the most talented young minds here in California and it is critical that we provide them educational opportunities close to home and afford them unique opportunities available nowhere else in the world."

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 the full Senate for consideration. All bills that originated in the Senate must be passed out of that house by June 1, 2018.