MONTGOMERY – Five of Alabama’s community colleges will pilot a private-public partnership for virtual reality education and training with JumpStartAL, a move that further projects the state toward reaching 500,000 highly skilled workers by 2025.
Coastal Alabama Community College, Enterprise State Community College, Jefferson State Community College, Lawson State Community College and Shelton State Community College will serve as the first community colleges in the state to provide virtual reality training and other technology solutions through JumpStartAL. The partnership will use TransfrVR to provide industry-specific job training simulations that use engaging, hands-on instruction to help students master job skills.
Similar to the pilot of the F.A.M.E. (Alabama Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education) apprenticeship program that launched at Alabama’s community colleges two years ago as part of the Department of Labor’s Scaling Apprenticeships grant, JumpStartAL is expected to expand to other colleges over time. Current statewide industry-credentialed partnerships within the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) include Ready to Work, MSSC (Manufacturing Skills Standards Council) and Swift App Development.
“Now, more than ever, we must be engaged in new and inventive ways to train the next generation of skilled workers,” said Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy H. Baker. “Our colleges are committed to meeting students where they are and helping them achieve a better future. Hands-on virtual reality training is a means of achieving that goal.”
JumpstartAL comprehensively uses Ready to Work, along with resources from the ACCS, Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT), and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development to highlight and develop skills and career paths in areas such as manufacturing, healthcare and the hospitality industry. Training delivered through VR is known to provide greater accessibility, lower risk of injury or damage to equipment, higher retention rates, lower training costs and standardized training methods.
“Alabama is focused on the future,” Governor Kay Ivey said. “JumpStartAL will help ensure that we are positioned to attract the jobs of tomorrow by educating and training Alabamians to take advantage of the opportunities those jobs will provide.”
JumpStart AL has already received massive industry input and support statewide. In addition to ACCS, AIDT, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development, and TransfrVR, partners in the public-private endeavor include Alabama Power; the Business Education Alliance; Altec; Shelby County economic development organization 58 INC; Central Six Alabama Works; and the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“Jumpstarting Alabama’s economy is our top priority,” said Dr. Joe Morton, chairman and president of the Business Education Alliance. “This partnership signifies that key players in our state are working as one to offer innovative training and education that will help Alabama achieve its goals by giving citizens and businesses more opportunities for a prosperous future.”
For more information on JumpStartAL, visit jumpstartal.com.
With 24 community colleges in more than 130 locations, the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) is Alabama’s gateway to first-class, affordable education and technical training to compete in a constantly evolving workforce. More than 168,000 Alabamians benefit from the various certification, credential, dual enrollment and degree programs ACCS offers alongside leading industry partners. The System includes the Alabama Technology Network, which provides extensive training and service offerings directly to business and industry. ACCS is governed by the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees.