Electrical Construction Rapid Training Program Delivers Hope, Opportunity

A person with a VR headset on holding controllers next to a cart filled with electrician's tools.

Share this story

The core Transfr mission can be summed up simply as “helping people from pools of undiscovered talent get on their pathways to well-paying jobs in high-growth industries.” The hundreds of simulations in our library are focused on job sectors with positive outlooks, where people can secure entry-level positions without four-year degrees and start earning money on upwardly mobile trajectories.

However, building best-in-class simulations is only one way we’re helping change lives. The team at Transfr is also ceaselessly engaged in connecting different organizations (clients and non) into virtuous networks of educators, service providers, nonprofits, and other community organizations, as well as employers, to help students and job seekers get the skills and support they need to succeed.

Electrical construction is a vital career with great long-term potential for workers, but many job seekers don’t know how they can get started. Amanda Longtain, an anti-poverty expert with almost two decades of experience and currently Director of Program Strategy at Transfr, has been instrumental in helping create our Electrical Construction Rapid Training (ECRT) Program, which was launched in 2023 with Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas (WSWTC) as a pilot program. She joined us on Upward, the Transfr Podcast to discuss it.

“I design anti-poverty programs for Transfr by either scaffolding our technology into existing curricula or designing programs from the ground up,” Amanda explains. “It’s a lot about ensuring that all of our learners feel a sense of belonging and get the highest quality learning experience possible.”

The challenge: Increasing awareness, overcoming barriers

One of the first challenges to helping people take advantage of the opportunities present in any job market is awareness: People simply don’t know what jobs are out there or how to train for them. Many job seekers think that their path to a higher-income job in a high-growth field is a four-year college degree. Career exploration efforts in K12 settings and workforce development boards are changing those perceptions, but even as more people set their sights on jobs in the trades, pathways can still seem opaque or too long and involved to be worth starting.

Becoming a full-fledged electrician takes years in most states, but the right training program (with a web of other supports) can help job seekers get started on their apprenticeship journey more quickly. Amanda and the team leveraged the industry-leading Electrical Construction VR sims that Transfr and TRIO Electric built to pilot the ECRT program at WSWCT. The program gives job seekers skills training and a wide variety of support so they get not only essential skills but also assistance overcoming other life challenges. Upon completion of the program, participants are connected with employers to help them get started on their career paths.

“One of the things that I am most excited about right now is the recognition of short-term training programs,” Amanda explains. “At Transfr, we call them rapid training programs: free-standing turnkey programs that use of hybrid learning, VR, etc. They can be set up at a library, Workforce Development Board, or night school. The end goal is getting people employed.”

Combining VR training with wraparound services

Streamlining training is only one part of helping people go from job seekers to skilled workers. There’s no such thing as an “average” job seeker — everyone has a variety of challenges that they need to overcome to get trained, secure a job, and be successful. What makes the ECRT program (and others like it) so revolutionary, is that it combines fast, efficient educational programming with the ability to secure industry-recognized credentials as well as a suite of support services and employment help.

“The speed is another part of the short-term training piece that’s exciting,” Amanda explains. “Not only are you going to have a high-quality learning experience, but you’re also going to get a credential and we’re going to help you secure a job, which generates more hope and a sense of belonging. We’re also going to do it fast, which is important for adults!”

What’s also important to adult learners with a variety of challenges is connecting with services to help them cover all their responsibilities while completing the program. The ECRT program provides participants with transportation and childcare vouchers as well as ongoing support to complete the program and get placed with employers.

Creating a future with increased prosperity — and hope

The end goal of any adult skills training program is to help people get into well-paying jobs. The ECRT program culminates with connecting participants to local employers. Various job preparation activities and the use of VR help users feel ready for the rigors of the workplace and having portable industry credentials is a valuable addition to their resumes.

Support and services are vital to helping job seekers and students of any age successfully navigate their career training pathways. Connections to employers who understand what participants are learning in the program also often lead directly to securing a job, further streamlining the process, and helping participants see results faster!

This improved pathway from job seeker to employed person not only helps people accomplish their goals of self-sufficiency and gainful employment, it also gives them hope for the future, something which is incredibly valuable. As Amanda puts it:

“Learning gives people hope. It’s hard to measure, but it’s literally what pushes us forward to take the next step.”

Listen to the entire EC Rapid Training podcast episode.

Want to learn more about the EC Rapid Training Program?

Picture of Jack Cieslak
Jack Cieslak
Jack Cieslak is the Editorial Director at Transfr. He’s worked in tech for over a decade, writing for Amazon, CB Insights, and Sisense, among others. When he’s not behind a computer, he enjoys martial arts, gardening, hiking, and of course, reading. A seasoned public speaker, Jack is also the host of Upward, the Transfr podcast.