University of Louisiana Teaching Drone Operations in ‘Train the Trainer’ Initiative

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA), a federal-state partnership serving the Mississippi River Delta Region, has awarded $90,000 to the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) to train individuals on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

For the “train the trainer” project, the university’s Dr. Sean Chenoweth, an associate professor of geosciences, was awarded the grant to teach northeast Louisiana residents how to operate drones. Then, once they are trained operators, they can go out and train others, the university says.

Chenoweth stated in the grant application, “There is a need to train groups of UAS users across several industries with a limited amount of resources.”

ULM will be the center of operations, with 10 parishes in the project — Union, Morehouse, West Carroll, East Carroll, Richland, Madison, Caldwell, Franklin, Tensas and Ouachita.

“One of the main things we want to do is get in touch with ag groups in high schools, such as 4-H and FFA,” says Chenoweth. “We want to get young people interested in agriculture.”

Chenoweth says the grant money will be used for UAS equipment. The project will identify people and groups in northeast Louisiana who would benefit from UAS in their operations. A technical person within that group will be chosen for the initial training. Then, he or she would be able to train other groups.

“It’s important to reach as many people as possible in northeast Louisiana,” Chenoweth says. “There is incredible potential in this technology and applications for use in many businesses and industries. By moving forward with this project, we are keeping up with the technology, instead of chasing it.”

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