Nonprofit co-founded by UCLA to form national institute to improve efficiency in manufacturing

President Barack Obama speaks at the SelectUSA Investment Summit, Monday, June 20, 2016, at the Washington Hilton in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Barack Obama announced a $70 million federal award Monday to a nonprofit co-founded by UCLA to create a nationwide Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, with the goal of improving the efficiency of advanced manufacturing.

The institute will be headquartered in downtown Los Angeles in partnership with the city, led by the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition and supported by UCLA’s leadership. It will include a national network of five regional manufacturing centers funded by $70 million from the U.S. Department of Energy and more than $70 million in matching funds from many of the institute partners.


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UCLA Advocate In Action: Richard Benbow Brings Fresh Perspective

New UCLA Government and Community Relations Senior Executive Director Richard Benbow III talks at the recent Project SPELL graduation. (photo by Jonathan Van Dyke)

This is not to say that Richard Benbow III did not enjoy the cable television business — as an avid sports fan, he more than relished his roles with DirecTV and Time Warner Cable. However, it’s been hard for him not to notice the change in tenor of the conversations he has out in the public when he mentions his advocacy for UCLA.

“Higher education was something instilled in me early on and it’s something I can get behind,” he said. “When you say UCLA, people light up.”

Still, Benbow, who started his new position in UCLA Government and Community Relations as Senior Executive Director earlier this year, hasn’t minded leaving behind those questions of why someone’s cable box isn’t working right.

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South Los Angeles Receives Transformative Promise Zone Designation

Councilman Curren Price extolls the virtues of the newly approved SLATE-Z Promise Zone on June 6.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Deputy Secretary Nani Coloretti was on hand at Los Angeles Trade Technical College on June 6 to announce that South Los Angeles has won a federal Promise Zone designation.

The goal of Promise Zones, which were created by President Barack Obama in 2013, is to reduce poverty by creating a federal partnership with communities most in need.

The SLATE-Z (South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone) Promise Zone has been engineered by a coalition of 54 formal partners, including UCLA, and more than 50 additional allies. It is home to nearly 198,000 residents in parts of Vernon-Central, South Park, Florence, Exposition Park, Vermont Square, Leimert Park, and the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw neighborhoods.

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Project SPELL Graduation Shows UCLA’s Big Heart

UCLA employee Sonia Pichardo had plenty of support from her family during this year’s Project SPELL graduation celebration. (photo by Jonathan Van Dyke)

Student tutors and UCLA staff gathered June 3 for the Project SPELL Graduation and Tutor Appreciation Ceremony, celebrating a year of English as a second language (ESL) learning accomplishments.

Project SPELL is run by the UCLA Volunteer Center, helping connect student tutors and UCLA employees from Facilities Management and Housing and Hospitality Services Departments.

Program instruction develops knowledge in basic communication, literacy, workplace vocabulary and computer literacy.


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Veteran’s gift to help UCLA student vets cover funding gaps left by GI Bill

UCLA student veterans, who participated in the UCLA Warrior Games, gather. Nearly 100 undergraduate veterans at UCLA may benefit from a $1 million gift from the late William Steinmetz, a World War II veteran and UCLA alumnus.

With one quarter remaining until graduation, UCLA student veteran Michael Smith ran into a serious problem: Funding from his GI Bill ran dry because he didn’t complete his degree within the 36 months allotted by the bill. So the U.S. Air Force veteran of almost 10 years was forced to scramble to find the extra money to finish his degree.

Had money been available at that time from a just-announced $1 million gift that aims to help UCLA student veterans in this predicament, Smith would have been able to complete his degree without the added anxiety of raising funds.

“It would be a huge weight off a veteran’s shoulders not to have to worry about how you’re going to pay for school or housing — and just worry about studying,” Smith said.

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