Interplay Learning Partners with Residential Real Estate Leader, The Michaels Organization, to Expand Maintenance Labor Pool and Tackle Turnover With Simulation-Based Training Courses

With more than 60,000 units under management, a national leader in residential real estate utilizes Interplay’s foundational skilled trades training courses and custom learning paths to expand their available candidate pool, rapidly upskill talent, and retain their in-demand maintenance technicians.

Austin, Texas – October 20, 2022 – Interplay Learning, the leading global provider of online and VR training for the essential skilled trades, announced today its partnership with The Michaels Organization, a national leader in residential real estate. Initiated in October 2021, Interplay Learning is providing over 2,300 maintenance technicians with on-demand, simulation-based training courses in the areas of HVAC, plumbing, electrical, appliance repair, and safety, preparing entry-level technicians to be job-ready in 18 weeks.

A growing skilled talent shortage and high turnover among onsite maintenance staff have property management companies across the country struggling to fill open maintenance positions.

“Training is a critical focus for attracting and retaining entry-level skilled talent into accessible maintenance roles across Michaels’ properties,” said Lea Ann Bowers, Director of Talent Development at Michaels. “Interplay’s foundational courses and realistic simulation training on field equipment and appliances are crucial for expanding a shrinking talent pool, offering opportunities to build the skills of new hires with little to no experience in the industry,” she said. Michaels emphasis on delivering engaging and continuous training pathways is expected to be a key driver of continued success for Michaels’ 440+ apartment communities nationwide.

With a long-standing commitment to innovation and industry-leading employee training, Michaels is pleased with the addition of Interplay’s industry-leading trade catalogs into its maintenance training program. Since the initial rollout, Interplay has enabled them to fill essential maintenance roles faster, rapidly grow a confident workforce and prepare employees for career-building certifications like EPA 608.

“With Interplay, we can now hire people with no experience and train them for maintenance,” said Jim Loughery, National Vice President of Facilities for The Michaels Organization. Jim continued, “within the first two months, Interplay Learning’s detailed, interactive training process has provided much-needed instructions to enable our maintenance teammates to safely troubleshoot and repair basic maintenance issues. After completing the Technician I pathway in 18 weeks, maintenance teammates are prepared to tackle most maintenance issues.”

Additionally, the partnership is helping Michaels retain its workforce by offering advanced courses to move up in their careers. Jim continued, “our existing maintenance teammates can increase their knowledge and become more valuable by completing Tech II and Tech III pathways. These courses give them the knowledge and confidence to identify and repair countless defects that help retain employees by empowering them to obtain more knowledge.”

Doug Donovan, founder and CEO of Interplay Learning, commented, “We’re proud to partner with The Michaels Organization to deliver accessible and innovative maintenance training to its maintenance teams and new hires. As a national residential real estate leader, The Michaels Organization is setting an example for other multi-family organizations struggling with the skills shortage to leverage innovative training technologies to expand their labor pool and upskill essential employees.”

 For more information about Interplay Learning, visit

About The Michaels Organization

Serving more than 175,000 residents in 440 communities across 37 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, The Michaels Organization is a national leader in residential real estate, with full-service capabilities in development, property management, construction, and finance. We are committed to creating communities that Lift Lives. For more information about The Michaels Organization, please visit

About Interplay Learning

Since 2016, Austin-based Interplay Learning has been building better training, better careers and better lives for its customers and their employees. Its award-winning online and VR training for the essential skilled trades, including HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Solar, Multi-Family Maintenance and Facilities Maintenance workforces, is scalable and more effective than traditional training methods. By leveraging immersive learning technology, Interplay’s customers are able to train and practice hands-on learning from a desktop, phone, tablet or in virtual reality. The result is a highly trained employee who is job-ready in weeks, not years. Its digital learning platform, SkillMill, conveniently turns any space into a training lab with its short video courses, 3D simulations, knowledge checks, coaching and connectivity. Recent accolades include recognition by Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards in the Education, General Excellence and On the Rise categories. Welcome to the next generation of the skilled labor workforce. Visit to learn more.