Vincent Collins served in the US Navy for over 5 years from 2015 to 2020. After deciding to exit the military, he spent considerable time researching career opportunities that could provide him with a challenging, exciting, and interesting career. Based on his search criteria, Vincent found that Unmanned Aircraft Systems, (or “drone”) pilots were in significant demand and industry forecasts confirmed that this could be a rewarding, long-term career opportunity.
Collins’ research further led him to a UAS Bootcamp Program offered by Gulf Coast State College and taught by the Unmanned Safety Institute. He enrolled in the Bootcamp Program in Port St. Joe, Florida and earned his USI Safety Level 1 and 2 Certifications in March 2021. As the spring testing season was in full swing, it wasn’t until all the test results were in that USI determined that Vincent’s USI Safety Level 1 certification was the 10,000th USI Certification issued since the program’s inception in 2016.
When notified about this accomplishment, Collins remarked, “I came to the UAS Bootcamp without any drone experience and have been extremely impressed with Gulf Coast State College and USI”. He added, “It is now easy for me to understand why USI Certifications are the most respected and recognized by industry. Anybody can teach you how to fly a drone, but USI is truly preparing me to be a leader in UAS operations.”
USI created the proprietary 3 stage Certification Structure to fill a huge void in the marketplace. Part 107 provides for one certification level across all commercial operations. Companies hiring Remote Pilots have very specific requirements for experience, proficiency, and knowledge. USI’s tiered certification structure, combined with digital badges (via Credly) can assure hiring entities that these candidates have documented proof of their credentials. As the need for Remote Pilots in Command (RPIC) is growing significantly and the labor market does not contain enough qualified individuals, USI has implemented its Certification Program in over 200 high schools and colleges across the country. This growing list of schools is producing thousands of qualified UAS pilots and other needed positions per year.
USI President, Josh Olds commented on this achievement, “Vincent Collins is a perfect example of someone who can apply a well-rounded background and education to their rigorous UAS training and be market-ready upon the achievement of USI Certifications. In fact, he is so impressive that USI has already hired him to provide support to our UAS Bootcamp, OEM Training, and nationwide academic programs”.