VR Training in the News: Transfr March Roundup

A person using a VR headset in front of a blue background showing VR background imagery of an auto shop.

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Virtual reality (VR) career exploration and job-skills training continues to make waves — and headlines — as more and more organizations leverage immersive technology to attract and train the workforce of tomorrow. K12 schools and community colleges are renewing their focus on vocational training, opening more career and academic pathways for students and job seekers of all ages.

Want to learn how these organizations are driving meaningful change and training the next generation of skilled workers? Dive into these top VR training and VR career exploration articles about the future of education and workforce development.

Transfr makes Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies” for 2024

It’s an honor to have Transfr named as one of 2024’s Most Innovative Companies in Education by Fast Company. When people think about education, they often picture classrooms filled with desks and young students listening to lectures, but the face of education — especially career and technical education — is changing. More young students are setting their sights on skilled trade careers and college-aged individuals are looking for professional opportunities and advancement, as are those affected by the justice system.

“In an era when technology and innovation are catalysts for change, Transfr is excited to leverage spatial computing to drive the outcomes we want to see in the world,” said Transfr founder and CEO Bharani Rajakumar.

The demands of our evolving workforce are complex, with skilled-labor shortages in major industries such as aviation, construction, healthcare, and manufacturing spelling disaster if something isn’t done. To help close the skilled-labor gap, Transfr partners are bringing VR career exploration and job-skills training to more and more students and job seekers to help build the workforce of tomorrow.

Advancing healthcare training with VR

Despite Massachusetts boasting a low statewide unemployment rate of 3%, the Bay State’s healthcare sector grapples with significant worker shortages. In January 2024 alone, there were a staggering 49,030 healthcare-related job openings, with 17,627 of them specifically in the category of targeting registered nurses.

“There have been a lot of spaces included in healthcare that have been using the concept of simulation-based training for decades,” said Kate Kimmer, Director of Special Population Initiatives at Transfr. “But the technology of virtual reality, to be able to put on a headset and be completely immersed 360 in a space that is not where your feet are really standing, honestly, it’s incredible.”

This healthcare worker shortage is nationwide, affecting entry-level healthcare positions as well as doctors, specialists, and surgeons. Transfr’s pioneering VR-based career exploration and job-skills training enables students and job seekers to explore a range of healthcare professions firsthand, including EMT, Registered Nurse, and surgical technologist, without needing physical access to healthcare settings.

In an VR efficacy study conducted by Keith Lyle, the Director of Learning Sciences at Transfr, data was analyzed pre- and post-training which showed statistically significant knowledge improvements after VR healthcare training, with no significant differences in learning outcomes across different demographic groups: men and women, older versus younger, etc. VR training can have a big positive impact on industries in dire need of a skilled workforce.

“The findings from this study are consistent with others in showing remarkably high levels of self-reported engagement with a Transfr sim, as well as good learning outcomes,” Keith explains. “It can also turn serious job training into an enjoyable and impactful educational experience.”

Making strides for juvenile justice at SXSW EDU

The SXSW EDU conference is one of tech and education’s biggest events. This year, Transfr’s own Kate Kimmer took the stage to discuss reducing juvenile recidivism.

The ability of programs to rehabilitate individuals varies wildly and many in the juvenile justice system often have little success in education and employment prior to returning to their communities. Transfr’s partnerships with justice-impacted programs in a number of states have given these programs a powerful tool to introduce career options, the academic pathways associated with them, and even giving justice-impacted youth the skills needed to thrive in employment after returning home.

In Fort Wayne, Indiana, Transfr was able to connect two partners for the benefit of local impacted youth through Career & Technical Education (CTE) programming enriched with virtual reality.

“We partner with [the juvenile justice system] because I think that’s really where the services that we provide can really make the difference,” said Joe Jordan, President, and CEO at the Boys & Girls Club of Fort Wayne.

“We have an opportunity to invest in these young people,” said Kate Kimmer. “They are right here. They deserve this level of community and support. Given the opportunity and the investment, they will return this investment many times over.”

VR changes lives in Kentucky

With Transfr VR headsets provided by the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board in Kentucky, community members across the Lincoln Trail area are enjoying VR career exploration experiences — starting with 8th graders at Bardstown Middle School.

“Recognizing the importance of efficiently connecting job seekers with local employers, we’ve recently found VR technology to be an invaluable tool in our efforts,” said Kristin Howard, Executive Director for Career TEAM in the Lincoln Trail area.

The success of the Bardstown Middle School initiative led to three other pilot programs being developed in the region. Services were also extended to young adults aged 18 to 24 under the guidance of Addiction Recovery Care with a final pilot program to engage a group from BlueOval SK, a local industry partner specializing in manufacturing electric vehicle batteries.

“These new modules will prove highly advantageous for our local workforce, enhancing their readiness for evolving job opportunities in the region,” continued Howard.

With an ever-growing catalog of VR career exploration experiences, Transfr helps partners keep a finger on the pulse of an evolving job market so that individuals can be ready to jump on employment opportunities as they arise.

Want to learn about Transfr’s efforts helping Workforce Development Boards?

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.