For the first time in the 132-year history of Sinclair, the college is offering two four-year degrees, one in unmanned aerial systems, and another in aviation.
Before this, students would have to transfer to universities as far as North Dakota to get a bachelor’s degree in UAS, according to Sinclair Provost Dave Collins in an interview with WHIO.
The program will address job needs in the Dayton area, as Sinclair signed an agreement with PSA Airlines, an airline carrier based at the Dayton International Airport, in 2017 in an effort to train future pilots by establishing a pilot cadet program to fill a gap in jobs for the airline.
“The demand for professional pilots is at an all-time high both within the region and throughout the world,” said Clay Pittman, Chair of Aviation Technology said in a news release on the college’s website. “Sinclair College has a very strong aviation program and launching the new Aviation Pilot bachelor’s degree program will help produce highly qualified pilots that can immediately enter into airline employment.
UAS, on the other hand is a relatively new, rapidly expanding industry. Sinclair has built a great reputation and is a leader in this growing area. We have strong connections with military, government and business UAS programs. Dayton has a strong business and technology base in this area, and Sinclair is committed to providing skilled graduates to support this growing industry.”
Vice President of Advancement Adam Murka said of the 200 students currently getting an associates degree in each field, they are still working out a system to determine when they will enter the third and fourth years of the program.
Other community college students will be able to transfer and complete the program at Sinclair.
These degrees are sent to and approved by the Ohio Higher Learning Commission (OHLC), and many more community colleges are looking to offer their own bachelor’s degree programs.
Clark State Community College in Springfield plans on starting an applied bachelor’s degree in manufacturing technology management and Cincinnati State College could offer a four-year degree in surveying and culinary and food science.
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed the concept of specialized four-year degrees at a two-year college into law as part of his last budget bill passed.
These degrees have been a mission for Sinclair president Steve Johnson, who posted a statement on Twitter saying he “personally worked toward this” for close to two decades.
“This is one of the most important innovations in education in Ohio in our history,” Johnson said. “Mark this day.”