Academics Announcement

Northland Receives $4.7 Million Department of Labor Grant

THIEF RIVER FALLS, MINN. (Friday, September 29, 2011) Dr. Anne Temte, President of Northland Community and Technical College (Northland), is pleased to announce that Northland has been awarded a $4.7 million United States Department of Labor (DOL) grant. The grant is focused on developing an imagery analyst certificate program as part of Northlands unmanned aerial systems (UAS) program. Upon receiving the news of the grant, Dr. Temte shared, This grant expresses the national importance of the growing remotely piloted aircraft industry (RPA) and confirms Northlands preeminence in developing and providing UAS maintenance training in this arena.

Minnesotas leadership is impressed by this grant as well. Im proud of the efforts of all those who have worked hard to create the UAS maintenance tech program, and now the Imagery Analysis program, Congressman Collin Peterson said. With the spinoff companies created by the UAS industry, Northland Community and Technical College is leading the way for students who will graduate with work in an industry that is growing rapidly and creating jobs.

Community colleges play a critical role in ensuring our country has a highly-skilled workforce ready for the jobs of tomorrow, Senator Amy Klobuchar said. Support like this will help ensure that all Minnesotans have access to the education and job training they need to succeed in a global economy, creating more opportunities in the unmanned aircraft systems industry and other growing fields.

"Right now, too many Minnesotans are out of work while good-paying jobs across the state go unfilled because applicants lack the necessary skills, said Senator Al Franken. This funding will give more Minnesotans the training they need to succeed in those jobs now and in the future.

Scott Fletcher, chief operating officer of Northlands aviation programs, shared, The unmanned aircraft industry is the fastest growing technology in aviation. The United States military now purchases more unmanned aircraft, and trains more pilots to fly RPAs, than traditionally manned aircraft. He continued, The civilian applications will be even larger in scope within a few years. In 2010, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) published the Unmanned Aircraft System Integration into the United States National Airspace: An Assessment of the Impact of Job Creation in the U.S. Aerospace Industry. In this document, AUVSI projected that between 2010 and 2025, more than 23,000 UAS jobs could be created, with more than $100 billion in revenue by the integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace. AUVSI describes itself as the worlds largest non-profit organization devoted exclusively to advancing the unmanned systems community.

With current military growth, and the future civilian potential, imagery analysts are a high-growth employment opportunity. Imagery analysts will facilitate the organization and dissemination of the information that unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) sensors gather. Currently this information is focused on military and security logistics. However, in future civilian applications, information may be focused on agricultural, weather or other scientific functions. It is the imagery analysts responsibility to get the information to the right individuals in a timely manner to be used effectively.

The grant will fund curriculum development, personnel, equipment, supplies and other program development related expenses. James Retka, Northlands dean of workforce & economic development and the aviation programs, worked with Fox Consulting in Minneapolis to submit the grant earlier in the year. James stated, This is a fantastic opportunity for Northland to continue to expand its growing expertise in unmanned systems technology. Retka went on to say This Department of Labor-Trade Adjustment Act funding (DOL-TAA) will allow Northland to provide high-tech programming to a wider variety of students, including working more closely with our partners in adult basic education, Minnesota Workforce Center network, and Federal Workforce Investment Act programs.

Northland previously received a $4.9 million DOL grant in 2010 to establish the nations first Unmanned Aerial Systems Maintenance Training Center. The very first UAS maintenance training class began in August 2011. Northland has operated a certified Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation maintenance training (AMT) program for over 50 years. The AMT and UAS maintenance training programs, and the new imagery analyst program make up Northland Aerospace.