The Arkansas Office of Skills Development (AOSD) is partnering with the Arkansas Community Colleges and TRANSFR for a statewide virtual and augmented reality program to foster career exploration. The institution has partnered with the economic development platform, TRANSFR, to facilitate the program.
The initiative aims to provide hands-on career exploration virtual reality simulations to provide participants with a real-world look into various fast-growing jobs and industries, including manufacturing, transportation, construction, and other skilled trades.
The public-private partnership will act as a career path discovery tool, enabling students and job-seekers to explore career opportunities in high-growth industries. The program features hands-on virtual reality experiences created by TRANSFR to deliver an immersive, lifelike view of various technical roles and industries.
The program is a part of the ambitious economic development goals set by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. Last year, the government had announced a new initiative called Ready For Life, aimed at connecting job-seekers and educators with employers.
The Arkansas Office of Skills Development has created a network of community colleges, career centers, and workforce development agencies to roll out the program to the public. To date, the program has had over 200 beneficiaries. However, it plans to reach over 4,500 students in 2022.
Altec, a manufacturer and service provider specializing in equipment for the telecommunications industry, is one of the employer partners supporting the program. The company aims to hire an additional 300 technicians through its VR-powered Altec Technician Education Program at Arkansas State University at Beebe.
“By working in concert with local K-12 schools, community and technical colleges, workforce boards, and employers, we are building a classroom-to-career pathway in Arkansas that will help more job-seekers start a path to long-term economic security and mobility,” said Bharani Rajakumar, founder and CEO of TRANSFR.
The Arkansas Office of Skills Development and Altec are emerging as leaders within the thriving community of states, community colleges, and employers, such as Lockheed Martin, deploying virtual reality tech for various purposes. The organizations aim to use immersive experiences to boost employee performance, drive retention, and help develop hands-on skills required for on-the-job success.
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