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Sen. Cortez Masto Announces Drone Training At CSN

A DJI Phantom quadcopter drone in flight

Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto. Photo by Andrew Davey
Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto. Photo by Andrew Davey

Las Vegas, Nev. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) announced that the College of Southern Nevada (CSN) has been certified as one of the schools under the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Collegiate Training Initiative (UAS-CTI). The initiative, which was originally proposed as part of Senator Cortez Masto’s Safe DRONE Act and included in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, allows partner schools to prepare students for careers in drone technologies.

“I’m so glad to see that the College of Southern Nevada will be part of this important program to provide training and experience in emerging fields to Nevada’s students,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Drone technology is an essential aspect of my Innovation State Initiative and has tremendous potential for everything from delivering life-saving medical care to monitoring and fighting wildfires. I’ll continue working in the Senate to make sure Nevadans who want to work in cutting-edge fields can get the education and support they need to embark on promising careers.”

“We are honored to join the Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Collegiate Training Initiative,” said CSN President Dr. Federico Zaragoza. “Our students will receive the best and broadest education available in the emerging and important field of drone technology. We are proud that CSN graduates will be world class technicians needed to grow the UA sector and that will support the continued growth and diversification of the state’s economy. This designation will position CSN to emerge as a national leader in Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Technology studies.”


As part of her Innovation State Initiative, Senator Cortez Masto has introduced and helped secure passage of an array of legislation to help foster technology, provide the good-paying jobs of the 21st century, promote careers in STEM fields, improve transportation options, and combat the climate crisis. Her WORKER Act in particular promotes education and training for workers in in-demand industries, including by expanding all-important registered apprentice programs.

She has also promoted the economic and safety benefits of the drone industry. During the course of the 2018 FAA Reauthorization process, the senator also extended Nevada’s FAA designated drone test site, and included and tracked the implementation of various drone safety measures to ensure the safe and efficient adoption of this technology into our national airspace. As part of that reauthorization, Senator Cortez Masto’s legislation to enable the FAA to recognize universities, colleges, and technical schools that prepare students for careers in the drone industry was enacted into law. Colleges and universities may apply to the FAA for designation as UAS Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) schools. The FAA works with partner schools to deliver up-to-date UAS training tools, resources, and guidelines. In order to be eligible to become a UAS-CTI school, the institution must offer a Bachelors or Associates degree in Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or a degree with a minor, concentration, or certificate in UAS.

College of Southern Nevada offers an associate degree in Engineering Technology focused on unmanned aviation technology — the first of its kind in Nevada. Becoming part of the FAA’s training program will ensure that CSN graduates have the skills required for this exciting emerging sector. Graduates will qualify for a broad range of jobs in fields that include electronics, robotics, programming, data management, system integration, data processing, sensor systems, project management, and drone operations.

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Michael McGreer Mesquite, Nevada
Dr. Michael Manford McGreer is managing editor of and writes on issues that impact public policy.

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