Alex Padilla speaks by video feed. Pool photo via REUTERS

Several San Diego-area Hispanic-Serving Institutions were granted portions of $31 million in science, technology, engineering and math funding from the U.S. Department of Education, it was announced Friday.

Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, announced the grants Friday, with more than $2.5 million going to three local institutions.

“As a proud graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with a degree in mechanical engineering, I know firsthand the value of STEM education,” he said. “This funding for HSIs across California — from community colleges to universities — will help build upon the success of their STEM educational programming.

“Diversity in the research environment drives scientific discovery, that’s why I’m supporting a government-wide push to increase equity in STEM education,” Padilla said. “A more diverse STEM pipeline is key to maintaining America’s leadership in innovation and promise of educational opportunity for all.”

San Diego City College was the local institution with the largest grant, with $999,938, while Cal State San Marcos followed with $999,905 and San Diego State University with $629,475.

This week, Padilla helped establish the Senate HSI Caucus. The caucus will focus on supporting and empowering HSIs across the country. California is home to more HSIs than any other state.

According to the Pew Research Center, no group faces a larger representation gap in STEM jobs than Latinos. The intent of the Department of Education’s HSI STEM Program is to help institutions develop and carry out activities to improve and expand their capacity to serve Hispanic and other low- income students.

–City News Service

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