AmSkills' Takes VR Career Exploration on the Road

Student trying out Transfr VR sims




Date started: July 2020

Groups served: Graduating high school students, unemployed adults

Number served: 146

Main use case: Career exploration, virtual skills training, and entry-level job preparation

Jobs placed: 102 (70%)

Industry focus: Manufacturing

Website: Amskills 

Executive Summary

Mobility can be a big challenge for job seekers everywhere. In the Tampa Bay area, AmSkills solves this problem by bringing mobile career boot camp programs right to the communities that need help most. Instructors provide career counseling, soft skills training, augmented by Transfr simulations, and hands-on real-world projects to help job seekers choose career paths, build skills, and prepare them for employment in local high-growth industries like manufacturing. Transfr’s simulations enhance these boot camps by providing experiences that could not be replicated in the field without buying and transporting expensive and unwieldy equipment. Learners were highly engaged and reacted positively to the Transfr training experience.


AmSkills strives to meet job-seekers where they live

When serving students and job seekers, it’s important to meet them where they are. This often takes the form of tailored counseling and support services. AmSkills takes this idea literally with their mobile Career Discovery Bootcamps. Transportation is a big hurdle for many job seekers due to cost and limited vehicle ownership, especially for those in marginalized communities and places with few or no low-cost public transit options.


AmSkills’ solution is to bring mobile boot camps right where their audiences live. Candidates participate in a two-week, hands-on, highly interactive program where instructors meet with local job seekers at community centers, schools and at local manufacturing facilities, leading sessions on soft skills and interviewing, with an eye towards connecting them with local employers, especially in Tampa’s resurging manufacturing sector. 


The challenge: Making these mobile boot camps as engaging and valuable as possible for attendees. 


“One of the problems in society today is that there’s little to no chance to explore different careers,” says AmSkills CEO Tom Mudano. “How can someone know if they want to be a machinist or work in robotics? The AmSkills Career Discovery Bootcamps allow them to explore these different careers in manufacturing and the Transfr system allows us to provide even more opportunity to show other careers that we might not be able to provide in the program otherwise.” 


AmSkills augments in-person programs with Transfr


Adding career exploration and skills training with Transfr to their bootcamps was a game-changer for Tom and the AmSkills team. They use the compact, portable, easy-to-use headsets to give job seekers access to a wide range of career options and skills, without the need for specialized facilities or lugging around expensive (and breakable) equipment.


“The Transfr VR system allows you to work with sometimes dangerous equipment in a safe setting, says Tom. “We don’t have to bring in a thousand-dollar piece of equipment or risk people damaging a million-dollar piece of equipment because they can do it virtually.”


Bootcamp attendees can delve into careers they might never have considered, then master some basic skills so that they’ll step onto their future job sites with the basic knowledge of what will be expected of them. Local companies can interview and hire graduates with confidence, knowing exactly what skills and techniques they’ll have learned in the hands-on simulations.


Using Transfr is a win-win for local job seekers, the dedicated professionals at AmSkills, and local employers. 


AmSkills Career Discovery Bootcamps in action


Tampa’s manufacturing industry is coming back, and the AmSkills team, augmented by Transfr technology, is right there to build a pipeline of skilled, qualified applicants for local employers while helping job seekers create their own unique pathways to prosperity. They know that there’s not a one-size-fits-all formula for workforce development success — and with Transfr’s career exploration and skills modules plus the human adaptability of the AmSkills staff, they have the ability to customize the experience of every job seeker they serve.  


The hands-on simulations, facilitated by VR technology, are only a small part of the world-changing work that AmSkills and Transfr are doing, but for some learners, especially younger ones, they can be a huge draw that gets them excited about career exploration, learning new skills, and building a solid plan to get to a better future. Here’s Tom Mudano again:


“We have programs in high schools as well. We are putting Transfr in the classrooms. We’re seeing students hurrying to finish their work so they can get on the VR system. It’s a great incentive for them. Today’s youth grew up on video games… being able to reach them through a different platform that they’re used to is great.”


One AmSkills student had this to say: “In virtual reality, the thing I liked the most was the one-on-one attention. It felt like they were right there next to me.”


Between the draw of innovative technology and the one-on-one experience (inside Transfr and in the “real world”), the AmSkills-Transfr combo is a huge draw that delivers huge value for a diverse audience. 


AmSkills and Transfr — Creating Pathways to Better Jobs


The pathway from classroom or mobile bootcamp to a well-paying job can be a long one, but every step along the way matters, as does every unique individual that AmSkills and Transfr helps. AmSkills has helped dozens of job seekers find and keep jobs, in high-growth industries, doing work they can be proud of. 


“We’ve helped homeless moms, we’ve helped high school kids who didn’t have any idea what they wanted to do with their lives and helped them get into careers they had never considered,” Tom says. 


The future is bright for Tampa’s manufacturing sector and the industrious locals working those jobs, with the help of the dedicated team at AmSkills. Transfr is excited to train the future workers of every industry through programs like AmSkills, as their teams go out day after day to help people find their own ways into well-paying jobs. Hands-on VR simulations, plus the human touch and a robust suite of career skills is a winning combination for AmSkills, Tampa, and the future of Florida.

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Student in Amskills, working
Student in Amskills classroom with VR
Student in Amskills classroom