ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The commonwealth’s lieutenant governor got a chance to see Piedmont Virginia Community College's Small Unmanned Aerial Systems program.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam stopped by PVCC Tuesday, November 29, to learn how drones are being used to train emergency service personnel.

In April, PVCC became the first college in the country to receive blanket approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct research and development of aircraft and sensors for public safety.

The college held its first course for EMS personnel and first responders this past May, and has a fleet consisting of nine drones.

"I asked a question earlier about where are these manufacturers? Why can't we manufacture these drones right here in Virginia? So that's what we're going to continue to work on: educating our workforce, manufacturing these in Virginia, and that's what will keep Virginia's economy moving forward," he said.

Northam sees drones as a tool that can be used for improving safety, as well as a way to expand Virginia’s economy.