Unmanned aerial systems program starting

  POPLARVILLE – Pearl River Community College recently received a grant to start a new career-technical program to meet the needs of a 21st century industry.
  PRCC received a $215,250 Career and Technical Education Challenge Grant through the Mississippi Community College Board to implement an unmanned aerial systems program.
  “This is the start-up capital to get this up and going,” said Dr. Scott Alsobrooks, vice president for workforce and economic development. “Our goal is to start classes in August.”
  PRCC and Tyonek Services Overhaul Facility at Stennis International Airport in Kiln are working together to start the program.
  “We need a workforce to cover what we do,” said Dean Oden, Tyonek site director. The company, a native American firm based in Alaska, specializes in aircraft modication and unmanned aerial systems or drones at its Kiln facility.
  The PRCC Board of Trustees officially accepted the grant at its monthly meeting Tuesday, Jan. 10, and authorized a search for an instructor. Classes will be taught at PRCC’s Hancock Center in Waveland.
  “We’ll use the airport and other places to do lab experiences,” Alsobrooks said.
  Students will earn a two-year associate in applied science degree.
  “They will be working their way to the FAA Part 107 operator’s license,” Oden said. “They will learn how to operate and maintain the UAS platform.”
  Hinds Community College is the only Mississippi community college with a similar program, Alsobrooks said. He can be reached at 601 403-1260 or salsobrooks@prcc.edu.

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