LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

JumpStart Drone Careers in South LA

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)/drones are disruptive aerospace technology, changing the way businesses and first responders operate. However recent studies indicate that the aerospace industry is one of the least diverse industries in the United States where in 83% technical staff are white men. Engineer Factory will partner with UAS Center at SBD to launch JumpStart Drones Workforce Development Program to prepare youth in South LA to successfully enter drone-related careers.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

K-12 STEAM Education

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

South LA

South Bay

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Drone pilots are quickly becoming some of the most sought-after individuals working in the aviation industry. Opportunities in drone use have significantly increased as technology has improved and advanced. The demand for commercial drone pilots is soaring as industries are relying on drones-or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)-now more than ever before. According to Research and Markets, the demand for drone pilots is expected to grow by 51.1 percent over the next five years. However, the lack of diversity in the industry and limited "on-ramps" or opportunities for individuals from underserved communities into the careers perpetuate the disparity. Engineer Factory in partnership with UAS Center of SBD will replicated the successful JumpStart Drone model to benefit students in South LA and surrounding underserved communities.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

UAS Center of SBD conducted a successful 12-week JumpStart Drone pilot program in the Inland Empire in 2022. The program provided a comprehensive drone education program for 25 high school student which resulted in 18 students receiving their FAA Drone license and 14 securing entry-level employment in the drone industry. Engineer Factory will partner with UAS Center of SBD to replicate this successful model in South Los Angeles. UAS Center of SBD will conduct a "Training the Trainer" model for Engineer Factory staff, equipping them with the capacity to replicate the JumpStart Training in our region. The JumpStart Drone program will meet with students six (6) hours per week over the 12-week program. JumpStart Drones will include: 1. FAA Part 107 Test Prep Course 2. Ground School: introduction to hands-on drone pilot training 3. Flight Line Training: intermediate/advance phase of hands-on training where participants are introduced to technical skills used by various types drone pilots (e.g. scans for GIS mapping, real estate photography, first responder search & rescue, etc.) 4. Intro to Drone Careers: students will network with industry professionals and learn about the opportunities available in the industry. This component will also cover employment soft skills. The Engineer Factory will engage in the program planning and staff training in the Winter and will conduct two (2) 12-week JumpStart Drone sessions, one in Spring and the other in Summer.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Engineer Factory believes that the current uses of drones is the "tip of the iceburg" and that the technology will be a disruptor in business and public safety. We envision creating a drone education pipeline that creates a pool of highly trained and experienced female and BIPOC drone professionals in South LA that are sought after by industry. We envision some of our students going on to become drone instructors, creating the opportunity to increase the number of future South LA drone pilots exponentially. Engineer Factory envisions us replicating the program to other underserved communities throughout Los Angeles County. Los Angeles County can become a hub for drone pilots who could be deployed nationally and internationally.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Measure of success for the Engineer Factory for JumpStart Drones will include, but are not limited to: 1. Number of BIPOC and female students that enroll and complete the program 2. Number of students who take and pass the FAA Part 107 test and receive their Drone Pilot License 3. Number of industry professionals we recruit to present, network and mentor our students 4. Number of students who secure employment opportunities in the industry 5. Engineer Factory successfully documents our process and help to replicate the program in other communities

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 55

Indirect Impact: 1,000

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

UAS Center of SBD will be responsible for: Creating the curriculum and conducting the hands on Drone Training the Trainer program for the Engineer Factory five (5) staff and volunteers Sharing the JumpStart Program curriculum and lesson plans with Engineer Factory Help recruit industry professionals to present to Engineer Factory students Help Engineer Factory find FAA approved locations to conduct drone flight training in our region