Virtual reality

Wood County Technical Center hosts CTE Exploration event | News, Sports, Jobs

Corey Dornon from the West Virginia Construction Craft Laborers spoke with students Friday at the Wood County Technical Center about their apprenticeship program. (Photo by Douglass Huxley)

PARKERSBURG – A Career and Technical Education (CTE) Exploration VR Camp event was held at the Wood County Technical Center, ending Friday.

The Workforce Development Board Mid-Ohio Valley and Wood County Schools partnered to put together the week long event.

Students were able to use virtual reality to take part in hands-on work such as welding, electrical, fire safety, and more. There were 11 different trades represented at the event with nine giving presentations. These included electricians, laborers, millwrights, plumbers, pipe fitters, sheet metal workers, and iron workers.

“This was an opportunity for (students), if they always wanted to be A, B, C or D, on one hand, to be able to pursue that because they have the ability to do that,” said William Monterosso, Executive Director of the Workforce Development Board Mid-Ohio Valley. “Or, if they have no clue what they want to do, it gives them the opportunity to say, ‘Wait a minute. I think I can do this and I never realized this even existed! ‘”

They learned shop safety, how to use and operate different tools from various trades, and how their everyday school learning translates into real world jobs.

Regional Executive Chef Ryan Grasley and Certified Dietitian Kim Ambrose from The Changed Plate spoke with students Friday at the Wood County Technical Center about cooking and healthy meal choices. (Photo by Douglass Huxley)

“You do not realize that if you are an electrician, they use trigonometry every single day,” Monterosso said. “So now math becomes real.”

This is the first time the event has taken place, and is the only one of its kind in the United States. The virtual platform and digital software is also new. The equipment cost about $ 5,000 and all the software was built specifically for occupational learning.

“From aviation to culinary, and all the trades in between.” Monterosso said. “So it gives a wide breadth of hope for these kids.”

Monterosso said they plan to incorporate this into schools on a daily basis to keep students engaged, and allow them to see how their studies in math and science can transition into the workforce. That will allow students to enter the workforce with skills already in place.

“So not only do we have a skilled workforce that maintains existing business, but we can say, ‘Hey, in our little part of the world, we have a skilled workforce to attract new business.'”

Kyle Smith goes through a fire safety program in virtual reality during the Career Exploration program Friday at the Wood County Technical Center. (Photo by Douglass Huxley)

The event wrapped up Friday with a catered lunch from The Changed Plate and an opportunity for parents to walk around and experience the things students have been accomplishing all week.

Douglass Huxley can be reached at dhuxley@newsandsentinel.com

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