Some of the fastest-growing, highest paying careers are in fields that may be off the radar of most high schools. Drone piloting, for example, is a field that can pay up to $100 an hour for licensed operators in a growing numbers of industries, including agriculture, emergency services and real estate. Likewise, virtual reality 360 photography is a skill that is increasingly in demand, especially in the real estate industry.
This October, 20 high school students will have the opportunity to attend two new training and career programs supported by the City of Wilmington and a partnership with Drone Workforce Solutions Drone School (DWS).
Theo Nix, Jr. started DWSl in 2015, and in 2017, began offering 10-week training sessions culminating in passing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) drone pilot test. At $7,900, the comprehensive course is relatively inexpensive, but out of reach for many high school students interested in pursuing the field.
The alternative — buying a recreational drone and watching instructional videos on the internet — may be accessible, but it won’t cut it for those serious about becoming a professional drone pilot.
“There are people doing it online, making quick money,” Nix told Technical.ly in 2017. “We believe that this is the way to do it for staying power. … What we’re doing is looking at this for the long-term, to employ young people in an industry that’s not dying.”
Ten students accepted into the high school drone training course will receive City-funded scholarships covering all course costs, the FAA exam, lunches, and transportation to and from the classes at the DWS headquarters located at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce on the Christina waterfront. Courses will be held Saturdays starting Oct. 23 for 16 weeks.
Another 10 students will be accepted into the DWS VR course, a four-week session starting Oct. 23 at the William “Hicks” Anderson Community Center at 501 N. Madison St.
Those who successfully complete the courses will also receive a six- to 12-week paid internship.
According to Nix, the students in the drone course will learn:
Students in the VR course will learn:
Interested 11th and 12th grade students should attend one of the three informational sessions at the Hicks Community Center on Sept. 23, Sept. 28 or Oct. 5 at 6:30 p.m.