The U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded a $6.7 million grant to the Cal Poly Corporation so it can expand on the existing Cal Poly Technology Park.
The grant, according to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, is expected to create 150 jobs and spur $20 million in private investment.
IMAGE COURTESY OF CAL POLY
INNOVATION Cal Poly is planning to expand its Technology Park, which is designed to encourage and facilitate innovation in an interdisciplinary environment that brings together students, faculty, and business.
Cal Poly’s Technology Park is located on campus and is a hub for technology-based businesses, specifically firms engaged in applied research and development.
University spokesperson Matt Lazier said that, currently, nine companies employing more than 100 high-tech professionals occupy the park. More than 30 companies have resided in the Tech Park since 2010, employing or providing opportunities to more than 200 students.
“Many faculty members have engaged in sponsored research and development activities with companies in the Tech Park as well, and faculty startups have called the Tech Park home,” Lazier said.
Jim Dunning, Cal Poly’s associate vice president for corporation engagement and innovation, said that the effects of recent natural disasters demonstrated that SLO County’s economy wasn’t ready for destabilizing events. Mudslides caused by heavy winter rains shut down Highway 1 in 2017 and 2018, decreasing tourism along the coast. The Cal Poly Technology Park expansion project, Dunning said, will add balance to the county’s economic sectors by diversifying the region’s job base through the development of technology-focused jobs.
“The Technology Park will provide access to a well-educated and motivated workforce as well as a network of expert university faculty,” he said. “We are seeing high demand from industry for this type of engagement with our world-class faculty and students.”
Current park tenants include the Applied Biotechnology Institute (ABI), Applied Technologies Associates (ATA), California Strawberry Commission, Cal Poly Digital Transformation Hub powered by Amazon Web Services, GE Digital, HealthcareIQ, H.T. Harvey Associates, Microcon, Securematics, SoCreate, and Software Inventions.
Tenants have opportunities to collaborate with Cal Poly faculty whose focus is on applied research. They also have access to qualified students, temporary workers, interns, and future employees.
U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) said in a statement that he is thrilled that Cal Poly is receiving the grant to fund continued growth of the park.
“The technology park is a hub of innovation that brings together the expertise of faculty, students, and rising businesses, and it contributes to research and job opportunities in our region. Using this grant to expand the park will broaden opportunities for the Central Coast’s students, economy, and future,” Carbajal said. ∆