Sinclair Community College in Dayton has announced a partnership with Ohio State University on its unmanned aerial system (UAS) or drone program.
Sinclair recently got news of a $4 million grant from the state to improve its facilities for teaching about drones. Now Sinclair will team up with Ohio State to offer people who get UAS certificates or associate’s degrees options to complete a degree at OSU in data analytics or geospatial precision agriculture; OSU students will be able to take classes at Sinclair to earn a certificate or degree.
“Sinclair Community College, like most community colleges, is concerned about training the workforce for the jobs that are coming in the future,” says David Williams, the Dean of Engineering at OSU. “And here is an area where we believe there’s going to be great growth, not just in the Dayton area but across the nation.”
Farming is expected to be the first major field for the expansion of commercial drone use—Sinclair’s National Center for UAS Training and Education is trying to get ahead of that development. For example, drones can be used to monitor fertilizer, pests and standing water more efficiently.
Drone development is currently limited by narrow regulations that prevent unmanned aerial vehicles from moving in national air space; the Federal Aviation Administration is in the middle of developing commercial drone regulations by testing their use in six sites across the country. Southwest Ohio was a contender to become a test site, but was passed up late last year in a competitive bid.
Lewis Wallace is WYSO's economics reporter and substitute morning host. Follow him @lewispants.