Interplay Learning and DBAKE Foundation Join Forces to Launch Construction Trade Pre-Apprenticeship Programs

New program provides earn-while-you-learn trades training for underserved participants.

AUSTIN, Texas — [July 10, 2024] Interplay Learning, the leading provider of immersive skilled trades training, has proudly announced its partnership with the DBAKE Foundation, a St. Louis-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting construction trades education for underserved youth. DBAKE is integrating Interplay Academy job-ready certificate programs into their paid, six-week pre-apprenticeship program to help young people gain job-ready skills and find fulfilling careers in the skilled trades.

Founded in 2022 by general contractor Annamarie Baker, the DBAKE Foundation is on a mission to fulfill the vision of her late son, Damion Baker, by creating awareness around trades careers and providing greater access to leading career training for underrepresented residents of St. Louis.

Commencing in September 2024, DBAKE’s earn-while-you-learn, six-week pre-apprenticeship program will feature Interplay Academy job-ready certificate pathways in HVAC, plumbing, electrical, construction, multi-family maintenance, building maintenance, and appliances. Leveraging immersive 3D simulations, VR, and high-impact video content, the pathways will guide learners from zero trades skills to job-ready. Curated training paths, combined with career support and in-person instruction, will lead participants to safely work towards earning an Interplay Learning Job-Ready Certificate and industry-recognized certifications like OSHA10 and EPA 608.

“As I strive to fulfill my son’s vision and empower underserved youth in our community, DBAKE’s partnership with Interplay Learning marks a pivotal moment in our journey,” said Annamarie Baker, founder, DBAKE Foundation. “With Interplay’s innovative technology, we’re not only modernizing education; we’re increasing access to careers that will unlock so much potential in our community.”

One standout feature of Interplay Learning’s training is its video game-like approach, making learning engaging and enjoyable for participants. This innovative method resonates with today’s tech-savvy youth, facilitating their engagement with the material and comprehension of complex trade skills.

Employ St. Louis will host the inaugural class with R&R Marketplace in Dellwood, a revitalized community hub. A job fair at the end of the program will facilitate direct connections between learners and potential employers, while DBAKE Foundation’s deep industry connections to major employers and union partners will ensure that graduates can transition smoothly into structured registered apprenticeships and employment opportunities.

“At Interplay, our goal has always been to equip individuals with the tools for success in the trades,” said Doug Donovan, CEO and founder, Interplay Learning. “This partnership with the DBAKE Foundation highlights our dedication to making a real impact in communities, bridging gaps, and creating opportunities. Together, we’re forging a future where every aspiring tradesperson can thrive.”

For more information about the DBAKE Foundation and how you can donate, visit https://givebutter.com/2qP1s9 or email abaker@dbake.org.

About the DBAKE Foundation:

The DBAKE Foundation, established by Annamarie Baker, is a St. Louis-based non-profit organization dedicated to advancing construction trades education for underserved youth while honoring the memory of her late son, Damion Baker. Through high-quality training programs and strategic partnerships, the foundation aims to empower young people to pursue fulfilling careers in the skilled trades, thus fulfilling Damion’s vision and legacy.

About Interplay Learning

Austin-based Interplay Learning is the industry leader in immersive training solutions for the skilled trades. Interplay’s acclaimed SkillMill training platform enables rapid upskilling and empowers new technicians to be job-ready within weeks, not years. Featuring expert-led videos, hands-on 3D simulations, knowledge checks, and personalized learning paths, SkillMill is more scalable and engaging than traditional training. Leveraging advanced technologies like AI and VR, Interplay is reshaping the future of online skilled trades training, delivering highly effective learning experiences that result in better careers and better lives. 

Recent accolades include Fast Company’s 2024 Most Innovative Companies in the World, AHR’s 2024 Innovation Award, Forbes’ 2023 America’s Best Startup Employers, 2022 Inc. 5000 list, and 2022 Inc. Best in Business list. Visit www.interplaylearning.com to learn more.

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