The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the labor market and left the economy devastated. As of July 21, 2020, the unemployment rate in Nevada was 28,2%, the highest in the U.S. To help thousands of dislocated workers, the state of Nevada proposed a novel solution – the Supporting and Advancing Nevada’s Dislocated Individuals project (Project SANDI). Read about how Project SANDI is modernizing training for Nevadans and how Lifeliqe is playing an integral role in helping get people back to work in meaningful careers
In October 2020, Nevada was one of the eight states awarded a highly competitive grant of $13.8M from the U.S. Department of Education to implement Project SANDI. Its vision was to strengthen career and economic mobility through upskilling and reskilling dislocated individuals for high-demand STEM careers within Nevada’s priority industries. The main objectives included building custom career navigation tools and expanding opportunities to acquire industry-recognized credentials through innovative digital platforms and technologies, including virtual reality. The project relied on state-wide cooperation between key public and private entities focused on workforce development, credential providers, and municipal libraries.
Through this collaboration, Nevada aims to modernize its workforce system to help Nevadans transfer their skills and work experience into new careers. Project SANDI is led by the Governor's Office of Workforce Innovation and Office of Economic Development. It focuses on STEM career pathways in Nevada’s priority and resilient industries. Public and private partners include the College of Southern Nevada, Truckee Meadows Community College, Great Basin College, Western Nevada College, multiple private training providers, the network of Nevada's public libraries, non-government organizations, and Nevada's business community. Through an enhanced career navigation system called the Nevada Career Explorer, a Community of Practice is actively using the SANDI tools. This aligned effort is efficiently using technology and streamlined communications to help get people industry-recognized credentials in weeks, not years. Lifeliqe received the opportunity to develop the virtual reality training content and a collection of field trip videos as a core Project SANDI partner.
In close collaboration with curriculum and training experts, Lifeliqe has been developing immersive VR job training simulations and education resources, together with 360° career navigation field trip videos and an online e-learning management platform for students, trainers, and employers. These training materials are custom-designed for the most in-demand career pathways in Nevada and include healthcare, advanced manufacturing, IT, logistics, and skilled trades. The crucial aspect of the training is providing short-term industry credentials required for well-paid STEM and healthcare professions. These programs are accelerated and generate qualified job-ready graduates who can re-enter the labor market in months and earn a living wage.
Altogether, Lifeliqe is creating five robust simulations in virtual reality for teachers and learners – for dialysis technicians, certified nursing assistants, HVAC technicians, coders, and advanced manufacturing technicians. Two of them have been developed so far, and the Dialysis Technician VR training has already been successfully implemented. This first-ever VR dialysis training depicts medically accurate kidney models as well as real-world medical equipment, such as hemodialysis needles, dialyzers, and dialysis machines. It also gives students a unique opportunity to experience the fast-paced environment of a dialysis clinic and hospital, which would not be otherwise possible due to healthcare privacy laws.
The simulations created by Lifeliqe are developed through The Cognitive Affective Model of Immersive Learning (also known as CAMIL) following 20-years of research about learning in simulation environments. The combination of immersion with practice in lifelike situations increases engagement and learning outcomes and makes the learning process highly effective, faster, and less expensive. With easy-to-follow tutorials and lessons that provide trainees with their own digital second teacher, and by leveraging 21st-century technology of mobile VR devices, Lifeliqe’s simulations make workforce development training remotely accessible for anyone with a high school degree.
The gateways to Project SANDI are Nevada’s public libraries. Virtual reality tools are a part of library collections and are actively used in career coaching programs. Deployment through libraries ensures access to information about available careers and training programs for learning marketable skills for local communities. Library staff trained at providing relevant information and being open after hours and on the weekends further expands training accessibility, especially for underserved populations. Together with community colleges, One-Stop Career Centers, state agencies, municipal governments, and non-government organizations, SANDI has created a Community of Practice (CoP), which organizes various events to help people explore in-demand occupations through field-trip videos viewable online and virtual reality headsets. CoP helps job seekers decode their most transferable skills, strengths, and work experience to recommend them the right short-term training programs. Both public and academic libraries play a vital role in this process.
With its innovative approach to short-term upskilling and reskilling training in resilient industries, Project SANDI proposes a unique solution to a state-wide transformation of the workforce development system. By leveraging the full potential of virtual reality-based learning tools, Nevada’s dislocated workers can become confident, work-ready individuals in weeks, not years. At Lifeliqe, we are ready to deliver custom solutions based on each States’ needs to help to transform their recovering and rapidly transforming economies.