Gov. Ralph Northam, D-Va., has announced $76,000 in funding for an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) initiative in the Alleghany County region of Virginia.
The project, entitled “Enhancing the Region through New Technology for Unmanned Systems,” will implement a new drone technology training program at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College to capitalize on the “Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone Initiative,” a business accelerator program to support enterprises in the UAS industry in Alleghany County.
This new program will establish a career pathway, beginning with project‐based learning opportunities for high school students and extending to four-year degree attainment through partnerships with other higher-education institutions.
Last year, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-Va., announced $100,00 in funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission to promote the UAS industry in the region.
The Dabney S. Lancaster Community College grant is one of five regional projects funded through GO Virginia (Growth and Opportunity for Virginia) totaling $1,115,300. Key members of the governor’s cabinet, the general assembly and the business community approved the GO Virginia regional per capita grant funds for projects across the commonwealth. The grants are for projects each region identified as vital to their efforts to diversify the regional economy; strengthen their workforce; and support collaborative programs between localities, public entities and private businesses.
“GO Virginia is inspiring the innovative thinking that will help to push Virginia’s economy forward,” says Northam. “It is encouraging to see how coordination between the state and our higher-education partners is helping businesses take their operations to the next level and to create opportunities in every region of the commonwealth.”