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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded a $135,000 grant to Harrisburg University of Science and Technology to educate the next generation of pilots and other aviation professionals.

It is part of $5 million in Aircraft Pilots Aviation Workforce Development Grants awarded to accredited higher-education institutions, high schools, state and local governments and flight schools.

“Our investment in the aviation workforce of the future must begin today,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, a former commercial captain. “These grants help nurture interest in aviation at an early age to build a career during one of the most dynamic times in aviation history.”

Harrisburg University can use the funding to create and deliver curriculum designed to prepare students to become unmanned aircraft systems operators, and understand the pathways to become aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers and other careers in the aviation industry.

“Through this Workforce Development Grant, our aim is to design and administer a course that will allow students from all backgrounds the ability to begin their journey to a career using unmanned aerial systems,” says Albert Sarvis, Assistant Professor of Geospatial Technology & Director HU Center for Applied Environmental and Geospatial Technology.

Sarvis notes the benefits of these courses are designed to designed to grow exponentially.  Plans call for 20 high school teachers to take the course in the first offering and subsequently obtain their FAA Part 107 Certification. From those 20 teachers, assuming a class size of 10 high school students, 200 more individual high school students will be able to obtain the same credentials and valuable knowledge to jump-start a career in the UAS, and potentially even manned, aviation industry. Additionally, offerings to future participants are going to increase the exposure to a growing aerospace technology. All Participants taking the course will be provided everything required to be successful, including supplies and equipment, to seamlessly implement this offering in their own classrooms.

To maintain the safest and most efficient aerospace system well into the future, the FAA recognizes the need to create a robust pipeline of skilled and diverse professionals. These grants are one way the agency is working to address the projected shortages of aircraft pilots in the industry.


Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private nonprofit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717-901-5146 or email, Follow on Twitter (@HarrisburgU) and Facebook (