The Palm Desert iHub, a collaboration of the City of Palm Desert, the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership and Cal State San Bernardino, celebrated a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday at 37-023 Cook St. across from the CSUSB Palm Desert campus.
The iHub will host university programs in cybersecurity, hospitality management and entrepreneurship.
“The addition of these three state-of-the-art programs will greatly enhance our Palm Desert campus and give our students much-needed experience and opportunities that will help them after graduation as they start their careers,” said CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales.
CSUSB Cybersecurity Center Executive Director Tony Coulson added, “Our expansion to the Palm Desert campus is another part of our efforts to tap hidden talents and help solve the national cybersecurity workforce crisis. This program will help improve the pipeline of critically needed cyber skills coming from the Coachella Valley.”
Information and Decision Sciences Assistant Professor Denise Kinsey will teach cybersecurity full-time in Palm Desert.
The Palm Desert City Council OK’d $175,000 to fund the iHub building lease and utility bills back in 2018 after going through a long-term planning process that identified the tech center as a solution to diversify and elevate the economy of the city.
Local officials hope the new tech center will bring an economic boost to the Coachella Valley by training a cybersecurity workforce and luring start-up businesses to the region.
“The Palm Desert Digital iHub will attract high-paying, environmentally friendly jobs and provide internship opportunities for students, equipping them for similar work,” said Palm Desert Mayor Kathleen Kelly. “These gains are huge strides toward the city’s goal of creating a more diverse and durable economy with opportunities for all.”
CVEP, which has managed the Palm Springs iHub for its entire nine-year existence and has attracted nearly 90 technology-based companies to enter its business accelerator program, will manage the new Palm Desert iHub, as well.
“The addition of cybersecurity to the offerings at the CSUSB Palm Desert campus is the first STEM-based high technology program for a four-year public university in the Coachella Valley,” said CVEP CEO Joe Wallace.
“The potential for transforming our economy in a way that prepares students and adults alike for high paying jobs may be its highest in the history of greater Palm Springs. This will empower us to break the cycle of dependence on lower-paying business sectors that have seasonally fluctuating demand for workers.”
Jonathan Horwitz covers education for The Desert Sun. Reach him at email@example.com or @Writes_Jonathan.