Southeast, Sinclair Community College Partnering on Unmanned Aerial/Aircraft Systems


Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, are forming a partnership on aerospace and related technologies, including unmanned aerial/aircraft systems (UAS) initiatives in the areas of education, workforce training and development, and applied research.

“We are pleased and excited to partner with Sinclair Community College through its National UAS Training and Certification Center on this agreement,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “The agreement reflects the interests of our institutions to better meet the higher education needs of students across the Midwest region on UAS technologies and underscores our commitment to provide innovative academics that launch extraordinary careers.”

Vargas noted that Sinclair is recognized as a leading educational institution in unmanned aerial/aircraft systems.

Jeffrey A. Miller, chief operating officer for UAS at Sinclair, added “We are excited to collaborate with Southeast Missouri State University to advance the integration and adoption of UAS in a variety of applications in the Midwest. By partnering to leverage our strengths in education and training, applied research and development, and workforce development, we are confident that our students, institutions and broader communities will realize great benefits.”

Through these collaborative efforts, students can be confident in the skills and knowledge Southeast and Sinclair provide to prepare them for successful careers, said Dr. Jim Peterson, assistant professor in Southeast’s Department of Polytechnic Studies.

“It’s a win-win opportunity for students across the region,” Peterson said. “Sinclair was one of the first institutions to robustly implement UAS, and they are a leader in the industry. I am looking forward to leveraging their leadership and reputation with Southeast’s bachelor’s degree focused on UAS and the supporting core of knowledge necessary to succeed in the UAS job market and industry.”

Southeast and Sinclair will explore opportunities to develop pathways from Sinclair’s existing UAS and other technical academic certificates and degree programs of study into Southeast’s programs of study.

Southeast and Sinclair also will focus on broadening the outreach of UAS online education and training by leveraging Sinclair’s existing online infrastructure and capabilities focused on workforce development and custom training.

In addition to the college’s robust academic UAS certificate and degree programs, Sinclair offers a broad range of UAS online and hybrid custom training courses with focuses including media, first responders, precision agriculture, geospatial information and infrastructure, current regulations and laws, and concepts of operation. Sinclair will partner to provide enrollment opportunities for these courses through Southeast and beyond.

The partnership between the institutions will provide opportunities for students to meet the demand anticipated for graduates skilled in this next-generation technology, said Crystal Jones, director of Southeast’s Economic and Business Engagement Center. The collaboration will pave the way for Southeast and Sinclair to lead research and development leveraging both institution’s expertise and resources in UAS applications including precision agriculture, geospatial applications, and first responder missions to advance the state of the industry and keep education and training content current and relevant.

“The economic impact of drone integration in Missouri through 2025 is expected to reach nearly $1.6 billion, creating 1,978 jobs that will generate about $10.4 million in tax revenue,” said Jones, citing a report by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. “This partnership between Southeast and Sinclair, combined with the strong local business relationships each institution cultivates, will harness this emerging market and leverage regional development and growth.”

Under the agreement, Southeast and Sinclair will explore opportunities to collect data from UAS flights, simulations and other activities that could support either institution’s individual or joint training, education or research initiatives.

“This collaboration will expand and enhance the robust technical research, education and training programs in our areas,” Jones said. “The incredible value of bringing together Southeast and Sinclair will advance the regional economy and extend the UAS marketplace across the Midwest region.”