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New Award Supports Partnerships to Develop the Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Faculty and students at community colleges across the Commonwealth will continue to learn how to operate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and collect and analyze geospatial data. The Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) is leading a statewide partnership to develop the geospatial technology and UAS workforce in Virginia.  A new award of $561,977 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program is the fifth award to VSGC and partners targeting the technician workforce in these emerging technologies.

VSGC, Germanna Community College (GCC), the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) and Virginia Tech are partnering on the Improving Pathways into the Geospatial and Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technician Workforce (GeoTEd-UAS) project (NSF# 2000715).  GeoTEd-UAS will prepare students for success as geospatial technicians and small UAS (sUAS) operation technicians (sUAS-OT) who will plan and fly sUAS missions and analyze geospatial data to solve problems and answer questions.

The GeoTEd-UAS team is partnering with industry, NASA, and other organizations to support the project. “Community colleges are well-positioned to respond to rapid changes in these technologies and offer flexible curriculum aligned with industry need,” state VSGC Deputy Director Chris Carter. The project will also offer UAS-themed activities for precollege students and leverage the Commonwealth STEM Industry Internship Program offered by VSGC to place students in paid internships with business and industry throughout Virginia.