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Sinclair Announces Grant Award of more than $545,000 from NSF to Support UAS Focused Tech Entrepreneurship

Sinclair Community College along with regional and national partners recently received a grant of more than $545,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund a new educational program that will help meet the growing need for tech entrepreneurs in the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) industry. The program will also provide opportunities for students to explore career pathways in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields and will further strengthen our region’s efforts in moving forward as a national leader in STEM education.

“UAS is a key part of our regional economic development strategy and we are proud to play a leading role in preparing the workforce in an industry that is growing at a rapid rate,” said Dr. Steve Johnson, President of Sinclair College. “More than ever, STEM education is also a critical focus in our community, given its proximity to Wright Patterson Air Force Base and this program will help meet our region’s need for more career pathways in STEM related fields.”

The significant growth of UAS is driving demand for skilled workers in STEM fields with both business acumen and technical UAS-related skills. UAS technology is used across a number of STEM disciplines including advanced manufacturing, rapid prototyping, precision agriculture, environmental science, geospatial information, and engineering technologies. 

Graduates of the UAS Entrepreneurship One-Year Certificate will provide career pathways for students in firms that have a range of occupational titles working in a wide variety of STEM technician fields such as engineering, logistics, environmental protection, telecommunications, mapping, and others. Graduates will also be positioned to be successful in the creation of their own startup firms supporting UAS services and technology development and integration.

Program Highlights:

  • A new one-year UAS/entrepreneurship postsecondary certificate program that will articulate to both Sinclair’s current UAS Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree and pending UAS Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree
  • An entrepreneurship kick-starter competition to support students interested in forming high-tech UAS-related startup businesses
  • High school STEM content and train-the-teacher modules to provide high school teachers with innovative curriculum, multimedia, and learning activities introducing UAS technologies, applications, and business opportunities.

The project will build new collaborations among academia, industry, and government to support entrepreneurial technicians. An extensive group of partners have committed to support the project.

Core project partners include: Ohio Minority Business Assistance Centers, Dayton Development Coalition, The Entrepreneurs Center and the Dayton Regional Stem School.

Intellectual Property Collaborators: The NSF Center for Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS), the FAA Alliance for System Safety of UAS through the Research Excellence (ASSURE), AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International).

The Entrepreneurs Center will be instrumental in developing the kick-starter competition process and will provide a variety of resources to support entrepreneurial students. The kick-starter competition will be piloted at Sinclair College (OH), Atlantic Cape Community College (NJ), and Northland Community & Technical College (MN).

Sinclair’s National UAS Training and Certification Center in Dayton, Ohio is one of the most comprehensive and facilities for the advancement of UAS technician education, training, and applied research support in the nation. Since 2008, Sinclair College has been at the forefront of UAS innovation, establishing partnerships and developing leading curriculum to meet the workforce needs of the growing UAS industry. Sinclair’s UAS Center provides students and researchers the ability to work with new UAS technologies in an immersive, hands-on environment.

Sinclair is recognized as a local and national leader in delivering high-quality and affordable higher education. One of the oldest and best-known community colleges in the nation, Sinclair was founded in 1887 by David A. Sinclair and is a board member of the prestigious League for Innovation in the Community College. Sinclair offers more than 260 accredited degrees and certificates. For more information, contact Deena John at 937-272-8208 or