Big Bend and Yakima Valley drone training partnership underway

3 students working together

MOSES LAKE —  A recent partnership between Big Bend Community College’s Unmanned Systems program and Yakima Valley College, offering classes and even a one-year certificate in Unmanned Aerial Systems to YVC students, is proving successful.

The partnership was announced earlier this fall, and the first wave of Yakima Valley students to take advantage of it are getting ready to wrap up the first quarter. Through the partnership, YVC students enroll for the Big Bend UAS courses through their college, and participate remotely.

Students have the option of taking classes just to prepare for federal drone licensure or to fulfill a UAS Remote Pilot certificate. Courses are led by Big Bend Unmanned Systems instructors.

“Our program is funded by a Federal Dept. of Education grant, which has given us the opportunity to expand these classes beyond our campus,” said BBCC Unmanned Systems Operations Coordinator Byron Noel. “With the increasing use of drones in so many fields, it made a lot of sense for us to partner up with regional schools who want to offer drone classes but don’t have the resources or expertise.”

Noel said the partnership is a win-win for students at both schools.

“With BBCC’s long and distinguished history in aviation, and with our new Geographic Information Systems (GIS) classes, we are able to provide a level of expertise that is hard to match,” he said. “Our students also benefit from the partnership, with them now being in a digital classroom with students from across the state and in multiple disciplines.”

Big Bend has been offering unmanned aerial systems classes since 2016.

Drones are becoming an increasingly common tool in the workplace, and employers are now looking for people with traditional industry skills who can also utilize drones. Learning to use this new tool can be beneficial to graduates in many industries, including agriculture, law enforcement, manufacturing and construction.

The UAS Remote Pilot certificate covers all the critical aspects of UAS law, safety, and operations and was designed with the working professional in mind. The certificate is offered through hybrid instruction, with a mix of online and in-person classes.

Classes are also offered outside of regular business hours.

For more information about the BBCC Unmanned Systems program, click HERE!

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