MECC Receives Technology Award for Development of UAS Coursework

drone 2Abingdon, VA – Mountain Empire Community College has been named the recipient of the 2016 Southwest Virginia Technology Council President’s Award for the development of coursework in unmanned aerial systems.

The award honors an educational institution in the region that has demonstrated outstanding technology advancements toward the enrichment of students and the community at large.

MECC has successfully developed the only credit-based Unmanned Aerial Systems coursework within the Virginia Community College System. An introductory level UAS class was launched in the summer of 2015, with pilot ground school and ground control also available to students.  MECC’s goal is to offer a certificate in Unmanned Aerial Systems, more commonly known as drones.

Tech Award

SWVTC President Sam Wolford noted that MECC’s efforts have been actively supported by international UAS firm Flirtey. The UAS curriculum project was funded in-part by the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Virginia Space Grant Consortium. 
“Mountain Empire Community College is already playing a leading role in the recruitment, training, and job placement as unmanned systems avionics, pilot-operators, remote sensing operators, and electronics manufacturing and installation takes root locally and throughout the Central Appalachian service area of the technology council,” said Wolford.  

Unmanned systems is a priority in economic effort within the Commonwealth. In 2015, the first ever successful use of a drone as a delivery agent occurred in Wise County during the Remote Area Medical event.

Dr. Scott Hamilton, President of MECC stated, “This award recognizes Mountain Empire Community College’s commitment to innovation and utilizing the latest technology in all of our programs where appropriate.  Our faculty, staff and administrators are committed to offering high-quality, state-of-the-art programs that prepare out students for success and enhance the economic development of our region.”

For more information on MECC’s Unmanned Aerial System courses or the SWVTC award, contact the MECC Office of Community Relations at 276.523.7480.