PARKERSBURG – A virtual reality exploration event for Career and Technical Education (CTE) was held at Wood County Technical Center, which concluded Friday.
The Ohio Valley Workforce Development Board and Wood County Valley collaborated to organize this week-long event.
Enable students to use virtual reality to engage in hands-on work such as welding, electrical, fire safety, and more. There were 11 different deals represented at the event with nine presentations. These included electricians, laborers, mill workers, plumbers, pipe fitters, sheet metal workers, and ironworkers.
“This was an opportunity (for the students), if they’ve always wanted to be A or B or C or D, on the one hand, to be able to go after that because they have the ability to do that,” said William Monterosso, executive director of the Ohio Valley Workforce Development Council. “Or, if they have no idea what they want to do, it gives them the opportunity to say, ‘Wait a minute. I think I can do this and I never realized this even existed!'”
They learned shop safety, how to use and operate different tools from different trades, and how to translate their daily school learning into real jobs.
“You don’t realize that if you’re an electrician, they use trigonometry every day,” Monterosso said. “Now mathematics is a reality.”
This is the first time the event has been held, and the only one of its kind in the United States. The virtual platform and digital software are also new. The equipment cost was about $5,000 and all the programs were specifically designed for professional learning.
“From flying to cooking, and all professions in between.” Monterosso said. “So it gives so much hope to these kids.”
Monterosso said they plan to incorporate this into schools on a daily basis to keep students engaged, and to allow them to see how their studies in math and science can transfer into the workforce. This will allow students to enter the workforce with skills that already exist.
“So not only do we have a skilled workforce that maintains the existing business, but we can say, ‘Hey, in the small part of the world we have a skilled workforce to attract new business. “
The event concluded on Friday with lunch served from The Changed Plate and a chance for parents to walk around and experience the things the students have been doing all week.
Douglass Huxley can be reached at email@example.com