Northland to host drone competition, open house to showcase careers in aviation

The event is scheduled for Dec. 11.

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Northland Community & Technical College’s aerospace site in Thief River Falls, Minn., will host a public open house on Saturday, Dec. 11.

The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will showcase the demand for careers in drone technology.

Northland faculty, students, and staff will be on hand to speak to the opportunities available in the aerospace industry. The school said a national outlook reveals a need for 192,000 qualified aircraft maintenance technicians between 2020 and 2039.

“This particular challenge is due to the aging workforce and overall shortage of trained technicians,” it said in a news release. “These factors have aerospace employers investing in recruiting serious candidates within the first semester of college at Northland.”

Along with the open house, up to 14 high school student teams will compete in the RADC 2021-22 Challenge. In the competition, teams maneuver around obstacles and through gates to score as many points as possible and accumulate the highest score. Matches will begin at 9:30 a.m. and continue through the afternoon culminating with an awards ceremony at 3 p.m.


Northland’s aerospace site is an 86,000 square foot ultra-modern facility located at the Thief River Falls Airport and is host to $18 million of unmanned aerial systems and other industry-specific equipment.

The open house is free and open to the public.

“We’re excited to invite the community into our facility to learn more about our programs and see the cutting edge technology we work with first hand,” said Curtis Zoller, Northland Associate Dean of Aerospace.

“Visiting in person is the best way to see the high-tech and hands-on learning that Northland’s students experience every day. The aerospace industry is fast evolving and there is no ceiling to the career opportunities that wait for trained professionals.”

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