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College of Business

CSUMB, DART and Joby awarded $1.5 million James Irvine Foundation grant

Joby Aviation

Courtesy of Joby Aviation

July 5, 2022

By Marielle Argueza

Exciting things are coming down the pipeline for the Monterey Bay region. The James Irvine Foundation has awarded a $1.5 million grant to a partnership among CSUMB, the Drones, Automation and Robotics Initiative (or DART), and Joby Aviation. 

The award is specifically part of the foundation’s Priority Communities Initiative in the Salinas Valley, part of a larger group of newly announced grants totalling $36.5 million focused on four initiatives for California: better careers, fair work, just prosperity, and priority communities.

In an announcement, the James Irvine Foundation stated that the award is a 15-month grant to catalyze local efforts to create new pathways to quality jobs and economic mobility in Monterey County, through an entity such as DART.

“The deepening partnership between Monterey Bay DART, Joby Aviation and CSU Monterey Bay represents the robust regional coordination, alignment, and partnership across academia, industry, and government needed to leverage existing opportunities and create new quality jobs in the region,” said James Irvine Foundation Priority Communities Initiative Director, Jessica Kaczmarek.

There will be money allocated to Joby pilot training and a feasibility study for a training center to be built, and support for the DART/iiED collaborations.  

“This grant will support opportunities for exciting new companies and employment opportunities in well-paying jobs for the region,” said ​​Brad Barbeau, a professor of entrepreneurship in CSUMB’s College of Business, executive director for the Institute for Innovation and Economic Development (iiED), and president of the board for DART. 

The grant is another example of CSUMB’s role in incubating new technologies that are already in the works and supporting economic opportunities in Monterey County from entities like Joby Aviation.

“Not only is Joby pioneering an entirely new air transportation system with zero operating emissions, they continue to expand their footprint here in the Monterey Bay region, providing an incredible opportunity for our communities. We hope this work can yield broad industry and community benefit,” said Josh Metz, executive director of Monterey Bay DART.

Joby Aviation is a Santa Cruz-based transportation company utilizing Marina Airport facilities to develop all-electric, vertical take-off and landing aircraft. DART is a 501c3 that aligns industry, academia, and government for new venture formations and economic growth, while CSUMB’s iiED supports such ventures and growth in the region. 

“This partnership is a perfect example of CSU Monterey Bay supporting continued economic development in our region. Working with Monterey Bay DART and Joby Aviation is inspirational for our students and faculty, and contributes to our goal of supporting Joby’s and the DART emerging technology cluster success in our region,” said Lawrence Samuels, executive director of CSUMB’s University Corporation and vice president for Strategic Initiatives. “We are grateful for the support of the James Irvine Foundation.”