2022 – Central District All Faculty Symposium – 4-H Youth Development
K. Taylor*, UF/IFAS Extension, Volusia County, Deland, FL; B. Scharf*, UF/IFAS Extension, Hernando County, Brooksville, FL; M. Smith*, UF/IFAS Extension, Sumter County, Bushnell, FL; J. Strickland*, UF/IFAS Extension, Osceola County, Kissimmee, FL; T. Wilson*, UF/IFAS Extension, St. Johns County, St. Augustine, FL; C. McCazzio, UF/IFAS Extension, Marion County, Ocala, FL; W. Mussoline, UF/IFAS Extension, Putnam County, East Palatka, FL, W. Lynch, UF/IFAS Extension, St. Johns County, St. Augustine, FL
Situation: Grand View Research states that the commercial drone market will be worth $129.2 billion by 2025. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International predicts that there will be more than 100,000 new unmanned aircraft and drone technology careers by 2025. However, anyone incorporating a drone into their career duties must be at least 16 years old and hold a Part 107 unmanned aircraft certification The endless opportunities for our youths in this sector necessitates a specialized workforce training program. Methods: A week-long course utilizing various instructional methods was used to teach youth about aviation. Topics included business planning, drone careers, airspace classification, weather, radio communications, aeronautical decision-making, and airport operations. Funding was provided by the Putnam County Soil and Water Board. Results: Pre and post-tests showed the course participants had a relative knowledge gain of 61.13% (n=8). Based on follow-up surveys, 100% of students (n=8) passed the Federal Aviation Administration exam and now hold an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Certificate. Three students immediately joined the workforce employing their new drone certification and newly learned aviation knowledge. Conclusion: Through partnerships among agents in Hernando, Sumter, Osceola, Volusia, St. Johns, Putnam, and Flagler counties, our team successfully prepared eight underserved youth from three different counties for careers in aviation and taught them how to turn a highly sought-after drone hobby into a potential career path.