Hinds Community College and Pearl River Community College in Poplarville are partnering with the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center outside Hattiesburg to offer an Unmanned Aircraft Systems program. Hinds will offer the Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle training while Pearl River, whose district encompasses the Camp Shelby area, will offer the academic classes for service members in the National Guard and Reserve as well as civilians to earn degrees.
Hinds signed the agreement with Camp Shelby on Monday, Jan. 27 in a ceremony at Hinds Community College’s John Bell Williams Airport where the college’s Aviation Department is based.
“What this partnership will do is allow us to expand our aviation program and it will allow military personnel fighting for our country to get college credit in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems program,” said Randy Pearcy, chairman of the Hinds Aviation Department.
“It’s very exciting from Hinds’ standpoint because we’ll be able to use their (Camp Shelby’s) restricted air space to do various training with our students operating platforms, research and development. On the flip side, we’ll be giving academic and technical credit to Guard and Reserve personnel as well as the civilian population.”
He said military personnel will be able to get credit for some work they have already and can take academic work they need through Pearl River Community College. Hinds is providing the UAS training. Pearcy said the program should be up and running no later than fall 2014.