UCLA Extension is no stranger to downtown Los Angeles – in fact, that’s where it all started more than 100 years ago. But now, with UCLA’s acquisition of the iconic Trust Building, the continuing education arm of the institution plans to return to its roots to better serve those at the heart of the city.
On Thursday, UCLA announced the purchase of the historic art deco building, located at 433 S. Spring Street in Los Angeles’ Historic Core, as part of its goal of strengthening engagement within the city. UCLA Extension was announced as its primary tenant.
“One of UCLA Extension’s priorities is to be accessible to all Angelenos,” said Dean of Continuing Education and UCLA Extension Eric Bullard. “This new centrally located building will provide easier access for students while also allowing us to explore opportunities to make a difference in the community. Our goal is to be a public resource, helping steward a more equitable workforce for Los Angeles.”
With UCLA Extension as the anchor tenant, the building is set to be a hub to serve students from the north, south and east of Los Angeles. Classes will continue in the Westwood properties and online, with UCLA Downtown allowing for expansion of in-person and hybrid learning opportunities. Its central location provides easy access via public transportation, with the regional connector and Pershing Square stations close by. Plans are in the works as to what academic programs or services will be offered in the new location.
“We have just begun discussing what certificates and programs we will be offering in the new space,” Bullard said. “Once we have a better understanding of the students’ and programs’ needs, we will move quickly to open.”
With the acquisition recently finalized, plans to build out offices and classrooms in the nearly empty building are underway. Bullard says the goal is to open sometime within the next year.
Beyond the certificates and programs that will be offered in the new downtown LA location, UCLA Extension will work closely with local companies, nonprofits and government to craft novel programs specific to their needs. And the location, Bullard said, will allow the institution to interact with the community in a new way.
“Our partnerships play a critical role in driving UCLA Extension’s success,” said Leah Vriesman, associate dean of academic and faculty affairs at UCLA Extension. “We are uniquely positioned to offer professional development to employees in many sectors, and being closer to businesses throughout the city will provide new opportunities for companies to support their employee’s professional growth.”
Additionally, UCLA Extension partners with many community and nonprofit organizations to provide low-cost training to those from underserved populations. The new location, Bullard hopes, will allow for more of these kinds of programs and improve the organization’s ability to further expand this mission to the unhoused community in downtown LA.
“The opening of UCLA Downtown further positions UCLA Extension as a leader in the continuing education landscape and will be a catalyst for creating novel programs and partnerships for the second half of the 21st century,” he said.