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Students Explore Careers Through Virtual Reality

A student wears a virtual reality headset.Sherman High School sophomore Treven Lummus crouches down and takes a ratchet wrench from his toolbox. He peers into the undercarriage of the car above him and spots the oil pan. With a few twists, the plug is loose, and oil drains into a bucket.

He drums his fingers for a minute, replaces the plug, and refills the pan. After watching for leaks and checking the dipstick, he closes the hood.

And then takes off his virtual reality headset.

“I liked how it looked very realistic,” Lummus said. “I didn’t know you had to get down that low to see everything on the car.”

Another sophomore, Nicole Fuentes, took off her headset and shuddered.

“I don’t know about being a doctor. That knee surgery was too much for me,” she said.

The learning experience without the real-world pressure is the point of these virtual reality headsets, provided by Workforce Solutions-Texoma.

“Here in Sherman ISD, we like to incorporate new technologies into education, and partnering with Workforce Solutions allows us to do that,” said Elizabeth Clayton, coordinator of career-military workforce development.

Students can choose from a variety of job simulations, from construction to health science to skilled trades, to try. Each job is also in high demand within the Texoma area, according to Hope Kramer, career navigator for Workforce Solutions.

A student waves his controller in front of him while wearing a VR headset.“These headsets and simulations can get students excited about a future career,” Kramer said. “And since they’re in high demand around Texoma, they can find local opportunities.”

Kramer travels to Sherman High School, both middle schools, and Jefferson Learning Center throughout the year, allowing students who haven’t decided yet on a career path to try different occupations.

“Students might not be at the age to job shadow or be hireable yet, and this gives them a little taste of the job,” Kramer said. “They can see if they want to explore more if the job interests them.”

Students can use the lessons they’ve learned in virtual reality in making career decisions, and deciding on a career path early can save time and money for students and their families.

“We want students to have enough experience when selecting a career path,” Clayton said. “Authentic exposure through virtual reality can lead to students making a more informed decision rather than them jumping from pathway to pathway.”