The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) contributed $1 million to launch the Air Quality and Climate Change Training (ACT) program at University of California, Riverside’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT). The program prepares students and working professionals for careers in the industry and will be offered by UCR’s Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering.
“The South Coast Air Quality Management District is honored to support the hopes, dreams, and passion of future scientists who want to be part of the effort to clean our air,” said Wayne Nastri, South Coast AQMD executive officer. “Our partnerships with UCR and CARB have been fruitful, and we are excited to see the innovations that come out of this collaboration.”
The new endowment was fueled by the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) relocation of its Southern California headquarters to Riverside, which has attracted STEM-focused businesses and strengthened economic opportunities in the Inland Empire.
“The ACT program recognizes the increasing demand for a training program that supports careers in air and climate-focused industries. This program provides hands-on experience and the exposure necessary for local students and professionals to be competitive for the surge of opportunities being established in our area,” said Nicole Davis, CE-CERT deputy director.
The State of California and the University of California system have developed renewable energy and carbon neutrality targets that require significant investments. CARB’s relocation and associated intellectual capital will help to accelerate California’s transition toward becoming a sustainable, healthy community.
“The active involvement of environmental agencies in Riverside provides opportunities for UCR students to conduct research, experiment with new technologies, and gain tangible training in and outside of the classroom. We are excited to introduce a program designed for current and future engineers, scientists, and technicians to tackle the world’s most pressing environmental challenges,” said Matthew Barth, CE-CERT director.
AQMD and CARB’s purpose is aligned with CE-CERT’s pursuit to improve air quality and mitigate climate impacts by developing, vetting, and implementing technological solutions in the areas of energy and transportation.
UCR is seeking additional support regionally, nationally, and internationally to expand the ACT program, which is slated to start this summer.