Essex County College and FlexRight Solutions™ will offer Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS, or better known as “drones”) training to public safety professionals starting in February. Classes will be offered at the College’s Newark campus, through the Division of Community & Continuing Education, beginning Tuesday, February 23.


As drone technology becomes more accessible for commercial and private use, safe and legal flight operations will be a necessity. The Essex program offered through FlexRight is the only accredited UAS public safety certification program in the state that is also recognized by leading aviation insurance providers.


The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, supported by the U.S. Department of Labor, forecasts that the drone industry will create more than 100,000 new jobs within the first 10 years UAVs enter into the commercial marketplace.


Public safety professionals who take the course will receive college credits from Essex, a certificate of completion, a drone aircraft and all applicable resources for the program. Dr. Elvy Vieira, Acting Dean of Community & Continuing Education/West Essex Campus, said students not yet in law enforcement, upon completion, will be able to market themselves to police agencies, municipalities, and for other public and private sector positions in the growing field of UAS.


Essex County College President Dr. Gale E. Gibson said “the collaboration with FlexRight is into two of the College’s Strategic Directions, that of Collaborative Partnerships with the Community, and Implementation of State of the Art Technology.  She added that the many uses of drones are important options to help decrease crime, improve efficiency, ensure professionalism, effectiveness, and improve officer and civilian safety, resulting in overall improvement in our communities.”


“For current and future drone companies to be successful, every pilot has to fly safely and by the rules. The public safety program at Essex County College will help give the region an edge over future regional operators,” said FlexRight Solutions™ Founder/CEO Damian D. “Skipper” Pitts.  The company donated to the College a complete Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), worth $75,000, to the College last summer. Two of the drones are equipped with such high-tech features as thermal imaging and spotlights.


“Public safety professionals will learn a variety of relevant topics from search & rescue, crime scenes, disaster response, infrastructure inspection and aeronautical decision-making. Labs will feature unmanned aircraft simulators and systems equipped with hi-powered cameras and other technology resources for training aids,” said Pitts.


He noted that law enforcement officials already understand how UAS can help provide scene footage in advance when law enforcement is heading into a hazardous situation. They are evolving to the point where they can serve as everyday tools. Drones would help law enforcement see areas they couldn’t otherwise see because of blockages. They can be used in accident situations allowing officers to see the whole scene from the sky, providing an effective vantage point quickly in order for the officers to be able to release the scene faster to get the roads back open. Drones can also cover a lot more ground than boats or people in search and rescue situations.


For more information about the UAS flight training instruction at Essex County College or to register, contact Dr. Elvy Vieira via email at



Posted in Essex County College News

To help celebrate February as Black History Month, Essex County College is hosting its 4th annual Garvey-Nkrumah Lecture Series on Thursday, February 4, with an address by Syracuse University Professor Dr. Horace Campbell. The free program, sponsored by the College’s Africana Institute, will be held 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Smith Hall at the main Newark campus.


Dr. Campbell’s keynote address is on “Pan-Africanism Today.” He is professor of African American Studies and Political Science at Syracuse where he is also director of the Africa Initiatives. In the city, he is an activist for peace and is a board member of the Syracuse Peace Council. Dr. Campbell is the author of Rasta and Resistance from Marcus Garvey to Walter Rodney. His most recent book is Pan Africanism, Pan Africanists and African Liberation in the 21st Century.


The lecture series has been designed to highlight African Diaspora speakers from around the world. It is a Pan-African presentation showcasing the philosophy of operational unity amongst African people both in the United States and throughout the world. Each lecture encompasses the meaning and purpose of Pan-Africanism from the perspectives of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, and Marcus Mosiah Garvey, founder of the world’s largest African organization, the Universal Negro Improvement Association/African Communities League in 1917.


Additional information on this program is available from the Africana Institute at 973-877-3219 or


Posted in Community, Essex County College News

Essex County College will be offering the state-wide Alternate Route Teacher Certification program through the New Pathways to Teaching in New Jersey (NPTNJ) initiative. This non-traditional teacher preparation program is designed for those individuals who have a college degree and state Department of Education Certificate of Eligibility but not the formal teacher training.


The extensive program is a partnership between the state’s community colleges and New Jersey City University (NJCU).


Essex will hold two information sessions at the Newark campus in February outlining the program which can lead to teacher certification from kindergarten through high school. Interested residents can attend either session.  The sessions will be held Tuesday, February 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, February 13 from 9 to 11 a.m. and Tuesday, February 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the 4th Floor Lower Level (Green Area) Multi-Purpose Room. Register for any session by calling (973)877-1904.


Prospective teaching candidates will take NPTNJ coursework at Essex using a curriculum created jointly by NJCU and the two-year schools. The program consists of Stage I and Stage II. Stage I (four credits) incorporates classroom management techniques, lesson planning and on-site observations. The 11 credit Stage II provides coursework essential for the development of excellent teachers.


Successful completion of the Alternate Route Teacher Certification program provides students with 15 credits toward a Master of Arts teaching degree from NJCU. Participants will also receive permanent state certification upon completion of the program and applicable state Department of Education requirements.


Applicable certifications through the NPTNJ program include elementary, middle school specialization, and secondary content area in English, math, physical science (chemistry or physics), biology, earth science, social studies or modern language.

Posted in Essex County College News