Poplarville, Miss.-based Pearl River Community College (PRCC) recently received a grant to start a new career-technical program that the college says will meet the needs of a 21st century industry: unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
PRCC received a $215,250 Career and Technical Education Challenge Grant through the Mississippi Community College Board to implement a UAS program. Students will earn a two-year associate in applied science degree and will have a head-start on obtaining their remote pilot certificate for commercial drone operations.
“This is the start-up capital to get this up and going,” says Dr. Scott Alsobrooks, vice president for workforce and economic development. “Our goal is to start classes in August.”
PRCC and aviation maintenance firm Tyonek Services Overhaul Facility at Stennis International Airport in Kiln are working together to start the program, the college explains in a press release.
The PRCC board of trustees officially accepted the grant at its monthly meeting on 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 adds.
Alsobrooks notes that there is only one other Mississippi community college, Hinds Community College, with a similar program.