Wilk bill for aerospace institute funding passes panel

Scott Wilk. Dan Watson/The Signal
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A bill introduced by Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, to provide state funding for a California Institute for Aerospace in the Antelope Valley was approved by a Senate committee Wednesday.

The Senate Committee on Education unanimously approved Senate Bill 1356 with a 6-0 vote, which will expand the aerospace industry presence in the Antelope Valley.

“The committee’s decision today moves us closer to a much needed investment in the future of our state through our aerospace industry,” Wilk said in a news release. “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 would 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,” Wilk said. “With the establishment of this institute, we can preserve and even grow that number.”

The bill will be next be heard in the Senate Committee on Appropriations in early May.

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