Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College announced today that the college will receive a $5 million grant using RESTORE Act funds to develop and implement an Unmanned Maritime Systems Technology (UMST) program at the college’s Jackson County Campus in Gautier. Implementation of the program will be coordinated with current coastal efforts associated with unmanned maritime systems, with the work of the Governor’s Ocean Task Force and local industry.

“We are very excited to begin implementation of this program, one which will offer outstanding career opportunities to our students and support the growth of the local maritime industry,” said Dr. Mary S. Graham, MGCCC president. “Research shows that unmanned systems is a $157 million industry and is growing by almost 14 percent annually.  The oil and gas industry, a vital part of our Gulf Coast economy, is one key industry using these advanced systems.  This program will strengthen the local economy by supporting these businesses and by offering students the option to train for careers in an in-demand, high-paying field.”

Expected to be in place by 2020, the UMST program will complement several existing career and technical programs on the Jackson County Campus – including electronics, instrumentation and controls, systems-based electronics and automation – along with a thriving local maritime industry and a growing scientific community along the Gulf Coast.  Additionally, the campus is situated on Mary Walker Bayou, with access to the Pascagoula River and its estuary system and the Gulf of Mexico, providing easy access to hands-on training locations for students.

Successful completers of MGCCC’s UMST program will be awarded an Associate of Applied Science degree. The program will contain classroom, lab-based and field-based instruction.  The college will seek out industry and university partnerships in support of the program, which will further enhance career opportunities for students.  Courses will focus on systems IT, systems maintenance, systems operations, systems security, systems manufacturing, troubleshooting, systems usage, and the industry in general.

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