By Janice Phelan, August 26, 2019
With the help of industry experts and regional stakeholders, the University of Central Missouri-Lee’s Summit and the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s Summit Technology Academy are working together to launch a new avionics and unmanned aircraft systems (drones) career pathways program.
A new Avionics Advisory Board met for the first time on Aug. 23 to provide guidance for the avionics program. The group includes representatives from the Aircraft Electronics Association and ULTRAX Aerospace (both headquartered in Lee’s Summit), Duncan Aviation and Garmin as well as officials from the City of Lee’s Summit and the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council.
The board members will work with UCM and Summit Technology Academy staff to develop curriculum, assist with industry certification identification and development and offer recommendations related to an entrepreneur component, career pathways and internship/apprentice opportunities. Joe Mullins of UCM and Dr. Jeremy Bonnesen, Summit Technology Academy director/principal, are leading the partnership effort.
The Lee’s Summit Mayor Bill Baird, the City of Lee’s Summit’s Airport Commission and the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council have recently endorsed the program.
The avionics program will be designed for both high-school and college students with a goal of enhancing the talent pipeline for a qualified workforce. The program fills a unique need in this region by emphasizing both avionics and unmanned aircraft systems.
Avionics includes the electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft. Examples are communications, navigation, monitoring, fuel systems, collision-avoidance systems, flight recorders, radar and sonar.
The University of Central Missouri’s Workforce Development programs offer face-to-face and online industry-recognized programs designed to fit the schedule of busy adults. UCM offers entry-level training as well as courses geared toward professionals wanting to advance in their careers. Through UCM’s Warrensburg campus, the university offers fully accredited aviation degree programs and certificates. UCM’s Skyhaven Airport, located in Warrensburg, is the only university-owed airport in Missouri.