The Duke Energy Foundation has awarded a $45,000 grant to Butler Tech for development of drone technology education programs.
Butler Tech has identified drone technology as having significant future impact on careers, with applications across a wide range of industry.
Commercial drone sales are expected to skyrocket from 600,000 in 2016 to about 2.7 million by 2020, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Drones are increasingly being used in agriculture, news gathering, utility inspection, public safety, and supply chain management. The Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International estimates there could be more than 100,000 drone-related jobs created by 2025.
“Drones are no longer just for hobbyists or a child’s toy,” said Jon Graft, Superintendent and CEO of Butler Tech. “The commercialization of drones means we have to train today’s students for new careers that are just coming online or have yet to be created.”
To help meet this future workforce need, Butler Tech will be adding drone technology instruction to existing high school programs in fall of 2017. The course module will prepare students to earn required commercial drone certification, according to the school.
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The grant supports one of Duke Energy Foundation’s key investment priorities to fund career education programs that address STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and workforce development, according to the company.
“We are pleased to partner with Butler Tech on this grant to see students thrive as they are learning the new drone technology,” said Tim Abbott, Community Relations Manager for Duke Energy. “Our commitment to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum made this program something we knew we wanted to be involved with.”