Building a Better Future: How Workforce Development Programs Can Create New Pathways to Skilled Trades Careers

A woman in an orange safety vest is checking the temperature of an air conditioner who has undergone a workforce development program

A skilled workforce is essential for a healthy economy, and workforce development—the upskilling of individuals for long-term success—benefits individuals, communities, and businesses. The U.S. is facing a severe labor shortage, especially in the skilled trades, making it even more important to help train people for in-demand careers.

Some communities are using workforce development programs as an entryway to the middle class via the skilled trades. Despite popular misconceptions that skilled trades jobs have low earning potential, many of these high-demand roles provide a competitive earning structure for new workers. Half of the current skilled trade workers with less than ten years of experience earn at least $50,000 to start.

“The skilled labor shortage is one of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. economy, with 650,000 open jobs in the construction industry alone,” said Jim Loree, CEO of Stanley Black and Decker. “This problem existed long before the pandemic but has certainly been exacerbated by it. We must address this issue, or we risk even greater labor shortages in the future.

Skilled trades, which are needed in industries ranging from plumbing and electrical services to heating, ventilation and air conditioning, are in high demand. Training is one of the most critical tools to enable people to enter the trades.

Offering a variety of training opportunities can help people find the workforce development program that works best for them. Deloitte has found that organizations need to enable individuals to choose their own development adventures, and choice is essential. 

Today people want to be developed any way they want, whenever they want, which means learning opportunities can’t be limited to the traditional classroom. Interplay Learning has developed new ways for workforce development organizations to offer hands-on learning opportunities via a desktop, laptop, tablet, or virtual reality headset to give learners real-world experiences in an accessible format. 

Digital learning platforms, including virtual classrooms, video courses and immersive 3D simulations, can provide added flexibility that allow learners to fit training into their schedule at times that work best for them. The digital transformation was happening long before Covid-19, and the pandemic only accelerated it.

When helping people reskill and upskill, it isn’t enough just to offer classes. It is important to optimize how they learn. Approaches based on proven learning techniques and new technology can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of skills training. This is where online simulation training–putting people in immersive scenarios that replicate true-life job conditions –can offer additional benefits like enabling them to practice and learn hands-on in a safe, risk-free environment. 

Success in a skilled trades career requires hands-on learning, and Interplay Learning has created a life-like simulation training where learners can have a realistic experience that will be parallel to what they’ll experience in real life.

“Using Interplay allows more community members to see the possibilities that exist within skilled trades careers, helping participants simulate hands-on experiences,” said Marvin Kelley, director of construction and trade training at Goodwill Industries of Southern Piedmont. “Interactive training offerings like Interplay’s, coupled with the personal support and career coaching Goodwill offers, are helping more people in our community launch new careers and change their circumstances to achieve their goals.” 

Help Meet Future Demand for the Skilled Trades

The skilled labor shortage is a growing concern across the globe. While the number of available jobs in skilled trades continues to rise, there simply are not enough qualified candidates to fill them. Fortunately, innovative technology like Interplay’s 3D and virtual reality training simulations can help equip individuals with the knowledge and cognitive skills needed to enter the skilled trades workforce. 

By partnering with Interplay, you can help bridge the skills gap and produce job-ready candidates in a shorter amount of time. Interplay’s on-demand training platform includes 300+ hours of expert-led courses and offers industry-recognized certifications to give job seekers a competitive edge. Help shape the future of the workforce by ensuring that skilled labor needs are met, and job seekers have the tools they need to succeed. Learn more about Interplay Learning’s workforce development solution here.  



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