Joseph Clemmer is excelling as a Drone Pilot 1 with Duke Energy, but the retired Gaston County Sheriff’s Deputy never imagined he’d one day be flying drones for a living.
“I had no clue,” Joseph explained. “I wasn’t even looking for a career in drones, that’s what blew my mind more than anything.”
With 30 years of experience in law enforcement, Joseph was first introduced to drones as a deputy, when he and a colleague were assigned a one-week training course at Gaston Community College. It was a few months after that training when the then retiree saw an ad for drone pilot training via Goodwill University and inquired.
“I started reading up on it and seeing the opportunities in drone technology. So, I thought this might be a good opportunity to get in the field,” Joseph explained. “I learned a lot in that one-week course [at Gaston Community College], but it was still not enough for me to receive my certification.”
At Goodwill’s Construction Skills Training Center, Joseph was able to take the Drone Pilot Training course, which provided him the knowledge and skills needed to professionally operate drones in just eight weeks! Following that course, Joseph took the FAA remote pilot knowledge test, paid for by Goodwill, to receive his certification.
The skills learned at Goodwill served as the launching pad Joseph needed to excel at his current job with Duke Energy.
“We fly the drone, and we take pictures of the power lines and all the equipment that’s on that pole,” Joseph explained of his current role as a Drone Pilot 1. “Before drones, they used to send a bucket truck out there with a man and a bucket to get up on the lift and look at the equipment. They still do it, but with our job, we can travel and cover a lot more ground than what they can.”
Drone Pilot training is not the only training course taught at the Goodwill Construction Skills Training Center. Other courses offered include Forklift training, Construction Basics training, Commercial Carpentry training, Blueprint Reading & Estimating training, HVAC training and Electrical training. Students also receive innovative training using Interplay and VR technology.
Goodwill University training courses, like the one Joseph took, are available to the community free of charge thanks to donations and purchases made by shoppers at Charlotte-area Goodwill retail locations.
“Goodwill is a great program,” Joseph said. “I mean, a lot of people don’t realize what you all offer and how it helps folks.”
In addition to free courses, Goodwill participants also receive complimentary wraparound services. They have access to family stability services, and are assigned a Career Navigator and Employer Engagement Representative to help with their job search and, ultimately, their success.
You can also find your pathway to possibilities at Goodwill!