Thursday, November 17, 2016

Grossmont College sponsoring drone technology workshop

From package deliveries and aerial photographs to defense applications, the use of drones is expanding, opening up new careers in the technology behind the unmanned aircraft.
Grossmont College wants to become the first community college in Southern California to develop a program in drone technology and is testing the waters with a workshop, “Regional Careers in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS),” noon-2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28, in Griffin Gate in Building 60. 

The free workshop to help the college gauge interest is open to the public.
Hosted by the college’s Career Technical Education division, the workshop will address how drones are being applied in today’s world, as well as provide an overview of potential careers in the industry.

While other colleges across the nation are offering classes in drone operations and manufacturing, Grossmont College sees its niche in teaching the programming and technology that makes the aircraft function, said Javier Ayala, dean of career and technical education and workforce development.

“We want to teach the coding and programming – the computer language like Java that is specific to drones,” Ayala said.

With the increasing commercial use of drones, the job market for the field has the potential to climb to new heights, said President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh. 

“The drone is a practical replacement to more costly, polluting and often dangerous alternatives and is a field ripe for mass market development,” he said. “The field will be fueled by human ingenuity and will be dominated by markets taking the first bold steps. A creative workforce development program is key and Grossmont College plans to provide the foundation.”

The college’s CTE division is partnering with the California Community Colleges’ Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy initiative, Klein Educational Systems, and Advanced Transportation and Renewable Energy (ATRE) to put on the workshop. It will feature:
  •  An overview of drones by MINDS-I Robotics, a Liberty Lake, Washington-based robotics designer and builder
  •  Grossmont-CSIS Professor Robert Gillespie presenting a talk on programming of drones
  •  MINDS-I Robotics demonstration and presentation on careers in the drone industry
Gillespie will include in his talk the technology that makes it possible to control and communicate with a drone using an Android or iPhone app, a nifty skill he picked up last month at a drone educators’ conference.

“One of the greatest opportunities in the future within the drone industry will be the custom apps and cloud services built for the processing and storage of data coming from drones,” Gillespie said. “I’ll be talking about how both the in-flight and post-flight communication with drones will offer software engineers and app developers a new, expanding job market in the near future.”

To attend the workshop, an RSVP is requested. Grossmont College is at 8800 Grossmont College Drive in El Cajon. Free parking is available in Lot 7.
For more information, email

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