A $50-million education center which aims to steer Latinos and other underserved communities into STEM careers is on pace to break ground early next year at California State University, Northridge, according to a new environmental report.

The CSUN Global Hispanic Serving Institution Equity Innovation Hub, planned to replace a surface parking lot near the intersection of East University Drive and Lindley Avenue, would consist of a two-story, 34,000-square-foot building as well as outdoor gathering spaces, seating areas, and landscaping.

Inside, plans call for research labs, a maker-space, and a student showcase area. And while the building is located on a college campus, it is also expected to include offerings for middle school and high school students in the surrounding community.

Site plan for Global Hispanic Serving Institution Equity Innovation HubAC Martin

The project is described as a public-private partnership, with the State of California and tech giant Apple splitting the $50-million bill. AC Martin is designing the building.

“This exciting initiative showcases California’s commitment to create new pathways to success for all individuals, reinforcing the fact that our innovation economy continues to expand,” said Governor Gavin Newsom in a 2021 news release announcing the project. “Expanding equitable educational opportunities for the state’s largest population has been a goal of my administration, and this $25 million allocation – along with the donation from California-based Apple – will help accelerate that goal.”

Construction of the innovation hub is set to begin in January 2023 and continue over a 20-month period, according to the environmental study. The facility would open by 2024, assuming the proposed schedule is maintained.

The innovation hub aims to address a longstanding lack of representation of the Latino community within the tech industry. According to dot LA, just 8 percent of Apple's workforce identifies as Latino, despite Latinos accounting for nearly 40 percent of California's population.