The state’s pollution watchdog Wednesday signed compacts with UC Riverside, the Riverside Community College District and the Riverside Unified School District to collaborate on climate science projects and establish student programs that open up career pathways in environmental research.
The California Air Resources Board formally entered the memoranda of understanding during the daylong AltCar Expo, featuring natural gas-powered buses, electric bicycles and other alternative vehicles, happening at the Riverside Convention Center.
“The relationship we are building with the Riverside community through the agreements we’re signing today will serve as a solid foundation for an exciting and fruitful relationship in the coming decades,” CARB Chairwoman Mary Nichols said.
Nichols said the MOUs were important to establish ahead of the opening of the agency’s new Southern California headquarters on Iowa Street, on property belonging to UC Riverside, where a citrus grove was removed to make room for the 380,000-square-foot facility slated for completion at the end of next year.
“The University of California, Riverside has had a long-standing relationship with the California Air Resources Board,” said UCR Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Thomas Smith. “With CARB now being a part of the Riverside community, we are excited that UCR’s education pipelines and research partnerships with CARB are poised to grow to a higher level.”
The UCR agreement stipulates that CARB and the university will engage in joint climate science research using their respective facilities. The UCR Bourns College of Engineering’s Center for Environmental Research & Technology has been utilized for CARB projects in the past.
The compact with RCCD will focus on setting up science, technology, engineering and mathematics — STEM — programs at the junior college level that help prepare students for careers in environmental science, officials said.
“The Riverside Community College District is pleased to partner with the California Air Resources Board,” said Chancellor Wolde-Ab Isaac. “This unique and collaborative educational partnership supports the jobs of tomorrow in a number of growing fields. While we look forward to CARB’s official opening in Riverside, the work is already underway, laying a strong foundation as we educate the next generation and we reach for success together.”
The RCCD course work will also aim to provide a means for CARB employees to procure continuing education certificates for advancement in their careers, according to the signatories.
RUSD’s MOU with CARB will center on reaching the K-12 student population using STEM programs that broaden understanding of air quality issues and regulatory applications, according to school district Superintendent Davd Hanson.
“STEM pervades every aspect of our lives. Jobs in these fields grow almost twice the rate as others,” Hanson said. “The Riverside Unified School District represents nearly 42,000 students across Riverside. Our agreement with CARB provides a special opportunity for many of our students to gain early exposure to important air quality learning experiences that impact our future economy and quality of life.”
The agreements will be in force for two years.
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