Westmont College continues to expand its programs and increase working partnerships between students and businesses and nonprofits in downtown Santa Barbara. Directors from five centers housed on two floors of the Hutton Parker Foundation building will present short talks about their work at a Celebration of Westmont Downtown, 5-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24, at 26. W. Anapamu St. The event is free and open to the public.

The five centers include Center for Applied Technology (CATLab), Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Westmont Initiative for Public Dialogue and Deliberation (WIPPD), Westmont Decision Lab and Westmont Hub (WestHUB).

This fall, the college unveiled WestHUB, a business incubator that accelerates entrepreneurial ventures across disciplines. Later this year, Westmont will roll out an executive education program based at the downtown location.

WestHUB, under the umbrella of the Westmont Center for Technology, Creativity and the Moral Imagination, offers its partners a collaborative workspace, seed funding, targeted mentorships, a one-unit seminar, and community networks.

“To tackle real-world problems, our community needs more than just good ideas,” said Don Patterson, Westmont professor of computer science and WestHUB director. “It needs citizens and creators equipped with 360-degree thinking, cross-cultural acumen, and robust moral imaginations.”

WestHUB connects innovation and new venture creation with the college’s liberal arts emphasis and commitment to faith. Fundamentally interdisciplinary, WestHUB includes professors from every college division on its faculty advisory board.

“WestHub will amplify a diverse range of student projects, invigorating learning-by-doing across college departments,” Patterson said. “We are set apart from other peer institutions by using our Christian liberal arts conviction to shape entrepreneurial ventures.”

Later this year, Westmont Downtown will offer educational programs to the public on the fourth floor of the building.

“Companies everywhere are grappling with how to retain and promote exceptional talent, and executives are seeking to maintain their competitive edge,” said Zak Landrum, senior director of advancement services, who will teach one of the courses. “The classes will target executives seeking to enhance their education through a moral, liberal arts approach.”

The Center for Applied Technology, which houses the CATLab, creates innovative technology solutions for the college using the collaborative efforts of faculty, staff and students. The CATLab is a summer program that employs students to work on these solutions, giving them substantial professional experience as a result.

For many students, this becomes a bridge to internships in Santa Barbara and employment after graduation.