Sinclair Community College representatives met with the region's leaders in unmanned aerial systems Friday to brainstorm how to leverage the school's $1.4 million investment in its training programs.
The initial briefing meeting came just three days after the college's Board of Trustees approved the money, which will first pump $550,000 into staff, curriculum and equipment this year. The remainder of the funds will be requested in 2014.
The $1.4 million is believed to be the largest investment nationwide in UAS training programs by a community college. Only a handful of colleges offer certificates in UAS and no two-year schools are currently offering degrees in the field, according to Sinclair.
"Sinclair will continue to be a national leader and a state leader," said Sinclair President Steven Johnson.
The drone industry is expected to exceed $94 billion worldwide by 2020 and the Dayton-Springfield area is working to attract 2,000 high-paying jobs with its application to become one of six designated drone test sites.
"The Dayton region is positioned very well to continue to be a national leader in the UAS industry," said Jeff Hoagland, president of the Dayton Development Coalition. "We see probably over 10,000 jobs ultimately in the Ohio-Indiana area that could be generated from this UAS industry."
The $1.4 million will be returned to Sinclair's strategic program reserves fund within 10 years. It builds on Sinclair's existing programs that are training students to operate drones and their sensors, which can be used in disaster response, to fly over industrial fires, conduct agricultural surveying and more.