WEST WINDSOR – Mercer County Community College (MCCC) students will have the opportunity to take to the skies without leaving the ground, with the introduction of a new program that provides certification for drone pilots.
The new program was made possible through a partnership with Cranbury, N.J., based ABJ Drones. ABJ will provide instructors and the latest in hands-on drone technology for the program, and will include MCCC students in the company’s network of commercial drone pilots, with opportunities for employment upon completion of the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) curriculum.
“Drones are a technological game changer in the way we solve problems, conduct business, innovate and view our world,” said Vip Jain, CEO of ABJ Drones. “We are on the cusp of a paradigm shift driven by the use of drones.”
The first class in the UAS program begins during MCCC’s seven-week session on Oct. 24 with UAS 101, Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems. The course is an overview of unmanned aircraft systems, emphasizing the commercial and military history, growth, and current and future applications. The course includes a test for Federal Aviation Administration remote pilot certification. Upon completion of the 14-18 credit hour curriculum, students will receive a certificate of achievement in Aviation Technology.
As many as 100,000 new jobs will be created after UAS are cleared for U.S. airspace, according to a 2013 report from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, with multiple applications – agriculture, law enforcement, real estate, scientific surveys, and news reporting, among many others. Al Palmer, director for the center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems at the University of North Dakota, said large employers are willing to pay upwards of $100,000 a year for skilled drone pilots, according to an article published by CNN/Money.
“We have seen the future of aviation, and drone-based technology will play an integral part in how business and industry approaches the application of aircraft for a variety of commercial and scientific needs,” said Dr. Jianping Wang, president of MCCC. “Through our partnership with ABJ, Mercer County Community College students will experience, hands-on, the type of technologies that will enable them to qualify for lucrative careers in this burgeoning new industry.”
With locations in Cranbury, London, and Pune, India, ABJ maintains a global presence, specializing in drone-based solutions for commercial, industrial, scientific, and military applications. To boost the new program at Mercer, ABJ is offering a free DWI X3 Micro WIFI Quadcopter with HD Camera to the first 20 students who enroll. Students enrolling as a group of three will receive a FPV-WIFI 2.4G R/C Drone with light and 720P Camera.
Students seeking more information or looking to enroll in the new UAS program can visit www.mccc.edu/drones. For general enrollment information regarding this and other later-starting classes, visit www.mccc.edu/enroll.