MAYS LANDING, N.J. — Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is partnering with Atlantic County and the Atlantic County Economic Alliance to implement its aviation STEM program in area high schools, one of several cooperative economic development initiatives.
On October 24 at Buena Regional High School in Buena, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s UAS team will fly a drone to collect agricultural data that will be downloaded and processed to generate a Normalized Vegetation Index. Such indexes are typically used by agricultural professionals to better manage crops.
The following day, October 25, the UAS team will be working with students who are participating in the ERAU aviation STEM program at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology (ACIT) in Mays Landing to teach them both ground and flight procedures. The students will conduct an actual flight of a small professional grade quadrotor aircraft followed by a flight operation debriefing.
“This is an exciting opportunity for both students and teachers to see how this technology is making an impact and how relevant this aviation STEM program is in preparing our youth for jobs in an aviation industry we have taken great strides to develop in Atlantic County,” County Executive Dennis Levinson said in a press release.
The ACIT is the first Atlantic County high school to implement the ERAU aviation STEM program. Classes began in September with 20 students currently participating who have the opportunity to earn a full semester of college credits and industry certifications prior to graduation.
Embry-Riddle is also working with the Atlantic County Economic Alliance on the development of the Atlantic County Maintenance and Technology Academy to help attract new companies to the Atlantic City International Airport and provide specialized training, some of which is also required for jobs in wind energy.
Danish company Orsted was selected by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities in June 2019 to develop a 1,100 megawatt wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City. The project is expected to create over 3,000 jobs through development and construction before the wind farm becomes operational in 2024.
“Our top priority is to diversify our regional economy and build a highly skilled workforce to meet the resulting needs of those efforts,” ACEA Executive Director Lauren H. Moore, Jr. said. “STEM jobs are the jobs of the future and we must begin preparing for them today.”