May 5, 2023
Jason Gaston, APR
ALABASTER - Alabaster City Schools (ACS) was awarded a $50,000.00 grant from the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) for the purchase of new career technical equipment that will transform the way students learn.
ACS Chief Academic Officer Dr. Amanda Wilbanks spearheaded the grant process, at the direction of Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers. This grant will provide nine, three-year licenses from Transfr - an industry-leading virtual reality (VR) career training & exploration platform designed to prepare students for high-paying careers in high-demand fields. The VR programs will be delivered via Oculus headsets.
The Transfr VR programs will teach students about career exploration and manufacturing, a high-demand, high-wage field for areas in and around Alabaster, all while being coached by an artificial intelligence instructor. Some example areas include: precise measurements; spatial/geometric reasoning; blueprint reading; troubleshooting problems; and employability skills (soft skills).
Transfer VR will be aimed at Thompson Middle School’s STEM/engineering classes for grades 6-8.
“Equipping the TMS STEM lab with 21st-century, industry-relevant equipment will align the TMS program with the industrial maintenance, engineering, and computer science programs at Thompson High School (THS),” Dr. Wilbanks said. “This will provide rich opportunities in areas ranging from career exploration to career preparation. Cross-curricular skills with math, science, and reading will also be tested and sharpened.”
Through this new endeavor, Wilbanks hopes to cultivate interest in high-paying industry sectors currently facing worker shortages and worksites readily available close to students’ homes. In Workforce Region 4, manufacturing is a top employer with a higher monthly wage than the regional average, according to Wilbanks.
See WBRC’s coverage of the new Transfr VR equipment coming to ACS.
See the Shelby County Reporter’s coverage of the new Transfr VR equipment coming to ACS