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Tesla Foundation Brings Unmanned Aerial Systems Training to East Los Angeles College

Students at East Los Angeles College (ELAC) will soon have the opportunity to be on the forefront of an emerging technology field. ELAC has announced that the Tesla Foundation is introducing a first-of-its-kind program that will train participating students for future careers in unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

The program is funded through a $300,000 grant from the City of Los Angeles Workforce Development Board. Using the Tesla Foundation’s Training and Internship Partnership model, students will “be trained on available applications for UAS, including cinematography, photography, real estate, security, emergency response, agriculture, oil & gas, mining, construction, surveying, UAS programming and maintenance,” according to the nonprofit. Tesla will work with ELAC’s Engineering and Technologies Department to help develop 21st century curriculum to meet industry demands.

“The City of Los Angeles and ELAC are truly setting the example for the rest of the educational system by establishing this program and allowing equal opportunity and access to its innovative learning design,” said Keith Kaplan, CEO of the Tesla Foundation, in a statement. “Through the program’s technology-focused training and work experience components, participants will learn what it takes to become a part of the emerging UAS workforce and be poised to secure good-paying jobs and careers. Many will become part of complementary aviation and technology industry sectors that are transitioning from the Information Age to the Autonomous Age.”

ELAC, one of nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District, serves more than 60,000 students, of which the majority are first-generation college students from typically underserved communities. The student population is about 57 percent Latino and 14 percent African American, according to the district website.  

“Our college serves a region where the vast majority of residents are people of color and this program represents a historic step in providing access to cutting-edge technology to students traditionally underrepresented in STEM,” said Martin Martinez, ELAC president, in a prepared statement. “This training will increase the number of highly qualified students of color transitioning to employment in the aviation and technology sectors.”

To learn more, visit the ELAC site.

Article correction: The Tesla Foundation is a private non-for-profit science and technology think tank focused on education and workforce development and is not affiliated in any way with the Tesla for-profit business.

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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