SkyOp LLC announced a new initiative to pair interested corporate sponsors with local school districts that are eager to launch high school drone training STEM programs. Following the recent release of its SkyOp Drone Training Curriculum, the company was overwhelmed with school districts excited to adopt the workforce development curriculum for high school juniors and seniors, but many interested districts faced age-old constraints on education funding. With experts highlighting a growing need for expanded STEM programs, and employers nationwide finding it increasingly difficult to hire drone pilots with the necessary data collection and analytics skills, SkyOp is hoping to help bridge the gap and tackle this national issue.
For employers in aerospace, defense, engineering, agriculture and other fields, entry-level employees with the necessary drone pilot skills, as well as the associated data collection and analysis know-how, are increasingly difficult to find. This skill gap is not unique to drone pilots though. According to Talia Milgrom-Elcott, Co-Founder of 100Kin10, “With a growing skills gap leaving millions of jobs unfilled, we need creative solutions to ensure all students have access to STEM, which we know is a critical component of a child's education that leads to lifelong benefits. Investments in STEM education at the local level create opportunity for all kids.”
Through its new initiative, SkyOp is looking to identify corporations interested in sponsoring drone STEM education in local high schools to afford students an opportunity to immerse themselves in a rapidly growing and well-paying career path. Not only will such private/public partnerships help ensure the skills for their workforce, but also businesses can know they are making a long-term investment in their local community. For industries expanding their drone applications, investing in the local workforce can help them satisfy their own hiring needs while driving brand visibility on numerous fronts.
STEMconnector recently published a report looking to define the benefits of such private STEM sponsorships. In its Input to Impact: A Framework for Measuring Success Across the STEM Ecosystem, STEMconnector notes that a sponsorship in high school STEM, which SkyOp is targeting, can help businesses drive talent development by creating the local workforce and skill-sets to feed its own future needs. Additional benefits the report highlights include building brand positioning, visibility and social stewardship while also differentiating the company as an employer of choice for diverse STEM talent.
“It’s our hope that we can bring corporate entities interested in investing in their local communities together with their local school districts to build the in-demand skilled workforce that will benefit all parties,” said Brian Pitre, SkyOp LLC’s chairman of the Board. “The drone training curriculum that we’ve designed allows school districts to implement experiential learning programs that not only expose students to career-driving STEM skills, but allow students to graduate the program as fully-licensed FAA drone pilots with the full complement of data collection and analysis skills needed to immediately enter this growing workforce.”
Following a successfully completed pilot program in partnership with Hudson Valley Community College and the U.S. Department of Labor through its U.S. Job Corps in Oneonta, New York, the SkyOp Drone Training Curriculum has also been deployed in numerous school districts including the Salamanca City Central School District, Sullivan County Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOES) and the Questar III BOCES.