Savannah Tech, Goodwill partner on VR program to train local workforce
Goodwill of Southeast Georgia and Savannah Technical College are helping those interested in learning forklifting and manufacturing skills with a new virtual reality pilot program.
The virtual reality courses will be offered to people interested in manufacturing and logistics career paths. The forklift operator and manufacturing certification courses will be provided in a hybrid format. The program’s goal is to provide hands-on classroom training in an innovative way, while meeting the local workforce needs.
According to the Savannah Economic Development, 10% of the local workforce will come from the manufacturing field.
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Brent Stubbs, vice president for economic development for Savannah Technical College, said there had been an increased need for manufacturing and logistics jobs because of an increase in job openings, interests and skills set. Stubbs said the virtual reality experience will go beyond the textbooks, PowerPoints and videos that students are exposed to by offering a more beneficial, hands-on approach.
He said the virtual reality training courses will allow the college to increase its logistics and manufacturing class sizes from 15 students to around 92.
“People still have an outdated view of what manufacturing and logistics are,” he said. “They think it’s dirty, it’s hot and it’s messy. Well, some of that still exists. The vast majority of them are high-tech and clean, and high-paying jobs.”
Opportunities Center manager for the Goodwill of Southeast Georgia, Melaine Goodwin, said the courses will be held at their Sallie Mood Drive location across from the Jennifer Ross Soccer Complex. She said Goodwill will help clients get connected with the courses offered at college and assist with tuition expenses.
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Earlier this week, Goodwill began assisting clients in signing up for courses.
“They’re going to get to use this technology to get micro training, get some exposure to the industry and then, through that relationship with Goodwill, be able to make that transition into more robust, substantive training that the college has to offer, “Goodwin said.
The partnership is not an additional cost for Goodwill or Savannah Technical College and those interested can contact the the Goodwill at 912-354-6611.
Bianca Moorman is the education reporter. Reach out to BMoorman@gannett.com or 912-239-7706. Find her on Twitter @biancarmoorman.