UCLA Extension is no stranger to downtown Los Angeles – in fact, that’s where classes were first held more than 100 years ago. Now, with UCLA’s acquisition of the iconic Trust Building, the institution is returning to its roots to better serve the heart of the city. 

In June 2023, 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 the building’s first 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 an 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 an expansion of in-person and hybrid learning opportunities. The central location is easily accessible via public transportation, with the regional connector and Pershing Square metro stations close by. Plans are in the works as to what academic programs or services will be offered in the new location. 

“We are still determining 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.” 

The location, Bullard said, will allow the institution to interact with the community in a new way. Beyond the certificate programs and courses that will be offered, UCLA Extension will work closely with local companies, nonprofits and government agencies to craft innovative programs specific to their needs. 

“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 employees’ professional growth.” 

UCLA Extension already works with community and nonprofit organizations to provide low-cost training to underserved populations. The new location, Bullard said, will allow for more of these programs and improve the organization’s ability to further expand this mission to the unhoused community in downtown L.A. 

“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.

This article is adapted from the UCLAx magazine spring 2024 issue.