MiraCosta College News Central

Three San Diego County Community Colleges Selected for FAA Training Program: MiraCosta College’s Technology Career Institute, Palomar College, and Southwestern College

08/20/2020























The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced 26 schools nationally have been chosen, so far, to participate in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Collegiate Training Initiative (UAS-CTI); three of these colleges are MiraCosta College, Palomar College, and Southwestern College. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has selected MiraCosta College’s Technology Career Institute (TCI) Unmanned Systems 500-hour program. 

The FAA’s UAS-CTI program allows educational institutions to collaborate with the FAA to help students pursue their aviation career goals. The new program prepares students for careers in unmanned aircraft systems, commonly referred to as drones. 

“MiraCosta College Technology Career Institute has been working hard over the past two years to create a world class, accelerated training program quickly prepares individuals to enter careers or start their own businesses using the newest unmanned systems technology. We are thrilled to be part of a national initiative that recognizes and supports exceptional programs, like ours, across the country,” explains Linda Kurokawa, executive director of MiraCosta’s Community Education and Workforce Development Department that oversees the Technology Career Institute. “Having been recognized by the FAA for our UAS program will ensure that we connect with and learn from other institutions around the nation, allowing us to keep current and continue to adapt for a rapidly changing industry.”  

The FAA’s UAS-CTI program requires institutions that prepare students for careers in UAS to offer a bachelor’s or associates degree in UAS or a degree with a minor, concentration, or certificate in UAS. Schools must provide curriculum covering various aspects of UAS training, including hands-on flight practice, maintenance, uses, applications, privacy concerns, safety, and federal policies concerning UAS. 

“Providing students with the skills to embark on rewarding careers is the primary goal of MiraCosta College’s TCI. The UAS program was developed in collaboration with industry to best serve our region,” said MiraCosta College Superintendent/President Sunita “Sunny” Cooke. “The national recognition reinforces the tremendous work occurring by faculty and staff.” 

In response to the industry's need for fast paced manufacturing and engineering skills training, MiraCosta College took an innovative approach to focused skills development by creating the Technology Career Institute (TCI) in Carlsbad, California.   

In 2015, TCI partnered with the City of Carlsbad to open a grant-funded, accelerated workforce training center. This marked a significant milestone in talent development for all of the San Diego region, with the institute offering a large variety of robust certificate programs that train students in the technical skills needed for growing industries such as advanced manufacturing and engineering, maritime technology, UAS operation and technology, biotech equipment manufacturing, and craft brewing.  

MiraCosta College’s TCI is operated by the self-funded “extended studies” arm of the college. To make sure the training programs are affordable to all, the center sought and was awarded two multi-million dollar Department of Labor grants enabling TCI to offer programs that are tuition free using state-of-the-art equipment for a hands-on experience. The success of the program is exhibited in its more than 90 percent completion and employment rates.