A new program is using VR simulations to help students and job-seekers explore careers in high-growth industries in Arkansas

Arkansas taps VR simulations for career training


A new program is using VR simulations to help students and job-seekers explore careers in high-growth industries in Arkansas

The Arkansas Office of Skills Development (AOSD), along with Arkansas Community Colleges, is partnering on a statewide program that is harnessing the power of virtual and augmented reality for career exploration. 

Through a partnership with economic development platform TRANSFR, the program has helped hundreds of Arkansas residents gain access to hands-on career exploration virtual reality simulations that offer a real-world look into a variety of fast-growing jobs and industries—with plans to reach up to 4,500 more in 2022.

“Demand for talent is growing in industries like manufacturing, transportation, construction and the skilled trades—professions that can often lead to long-term economic and career stability. However, students often lack awareness of the education or training options they need to get started,” said Cody Waits, director of the Office of Skills Development at the Arkansas Department of Commerce. “This statewide program is an example of how we can pair innovative technologies with our existing career and technical education resources to help more students prepare for new career horizons—and meet the skilled workforce needs of employers.”

At the core of this unique public-private partnership is a career path discovery tool, which enables students and job-seekers to explore a range of jobs in high growth industries. The new career exploration program features hands-on virtual reality experiences developed by TRANSFR that provide students with an immersive, on-the-job view of a variety of technical roles and industries—including manufacturing, skilled trades, warehousing and storage, hospitality, public safety, and automotive. 

Laura Ascione