It’s full steam ahead for Cal Poly Pomona’s Bronco STEA2M Innovation Hub, after a $1 million federal funding request by U.S. Rep. Norma Torres was approved in a sweeping 2022 appropriations bill signed earlier this month by President Joe Biden.
The project – an entrepreneurial and small business hub that will provide workforce training programs and a full complement of workspaces and fabrication equipment – was folded into a $14.3 million request to invest in 10 Inland Empire community programs. The hub is slated to open shop in downtown Pomona. Its location will be announced at a later date.
“Cal Poly Pomona is a premier educational institution because of the unparalleled, hands-on learning opportunities it provides,” said Torres, whose 35th district includes Pomona, Chino, Fontana, Ontario and Rialto. “Not only will CPP students gain real-world skills and experience, but our community businesses and entrepreneurs will benefit from these resources and a growing, highly trained workforce.”
The Bronco STEA2M Innovation Hub will leverage the university’s polytechnic advantage by offering programming in the STEAM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, education, arts, agriculture and math) that will prepare entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small and family-owned business, and a reskilled/upskilled local workforce to reinject economic and social vitality into a region enfeebled by the coronavirus pandemic.
The city’s unemployment rate skyrocketed from 4.9 percent to 14.7 percent in January 2021, underscoring the urgency – and potential – of delivering a skilled workforce in the post-recovery period.
“The downtown Bronco STEA2M Innovation Hub epitomizes what we do at Cal Poly Pomona,” said President Soraya M. Coley. “Through this unique program, we’re able to leverage our expertise and resources to create a hub where creators, innovators and business owners from across the region can get specialized training, mentorship, working space and access to state-of-the-art equipment.”