Gulf Coast State College and Florida Keys Community College move ahead with great career opportunities in technology for the middle third of students

If you think careers in technology are just for the top third of students (or fewer), you are wrong.  During the last month, Gulf Coast State College and Florida Keys Community College have provided some great examples of how the middle third of students can access attractive technological careers.

Gulf Coast State College – in Panama City – just became the first college in Florida to offer an accredited two-year program in Unmanned Vehicle Systems – or drones.

According to Eryn Dion at the Panama City News-Herald,

The program, available for the first time this year through a partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, will provide students with an Associate of Science in UVS, as well as 50 credits that will directly transfer toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Science at Embry-Riddle. They also will leave the program with their remote and private pilot licenses for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) — known colloquially as drones.

“After their second semester, they’ll be ready for both,” said Jose Lopez-Baquero, UVS program manager at GCSC.

Last month, Florida Keys Community College announced that they had received a million-dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to develop an Associate in Science degree in Alternative Energy Systems.  According to an FKCC press release,

With the grant, the College will develop an Associate in Science degree in Engineering Technology with an Alternative Energy Technician (ET-AET) track that will focus on career pathways in solar, wind, and ocean power technology. The new program, planned to launch in August 2017, supports the U.S. federal government’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and double the renewable energy workforce by 2025.

“At no time in human history has the need for sustainable, clean, renewable alternative energy been more critical. The global ramifications of burning fossil fuels can no longer be ignored because the climate is changing, the polar ice caps are melting, the seas are rising, the oceans are acidifying, and the biosphere is degrading,” said Dr. Patrick Rice, FKCC’s Chief Science and Research Officer and Principal Investigator on the NSF grant. “However it is not too late. With this NSF grant, FKCC can train the 21st Century workforce for alternative energy and conduct research that will foster the future of energy production. The Florida Keys can become a demonstration to the world on how to live sustainably with the environment.”

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