Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - 8

GEORGIA News
Compiled by Jennifer J. Hewett
Clayton County libraries offer
free skilled-trades training
M
any children are raised to
believe that the only way to
ensure a bright future is to go
to college-an undertaking that can rack
up lots of student-loan debt that takes
years to pay off.
For those in need of an affordable
alternative, the Jonesboro-based Clayton
County Library System (CCLS) is the
first in the country to offer free access to
virtual-reality (VR) skilled-trades training
for those wanting to become electricians,
plumbers, HVAC (heating, ventilating
and air conditioning) techs, solar installers
and facilities maintenance techs.
The training is offered in both
English and Spanish.
Participants put on
The CCLS is the first in
the country to offer
free access to virtualreality
skilled-trades
training for those
wanting to become
electricians, plumbers,
HVAC techs and solar
installers.
the VR helmet, grab the
hand controllers and are
dropped into a real-life
situation of work performance.
They bend,
lift, pull and perform all
the physical actions that
they would be expected
to do on the job site. The
up-to-date virtual training
takes months-sometimes
years-to develop and is created
by masters in
the fields.
The vast majority of workers
in the skilled trades are now retiring,
leaving a huge employment
gap. CCLS Director Rosalind Lett
proposed a program that would
introduce high school seniors to
an alternative path if they didn't
want or weren't able to afford a
four-year college degree.
The program isn't just for
young people. A participant in
her 70s signed up so she could
learn to take care of basic repairs
at her rental properties. Marquita
Gooch-Voyd, assistant director for technology and
training at the library, used her VR training to fix
8 Georgia Magazine April 2022
Above: Scott Parum, Rosalind Lett and
Marquita Gooch-Voyd lead the VR
training program. Left: Parum
and Gooch-Voyd demonstrate
the fun of interactive learning.
a toilet leaking because of a
faulty flush valve. The repair
cost her just $30.
Jonesboro resident Runal Patel
recently completed the VR plumbing,
electrical and HVAC courses.
" Should there ever come a day that I need
to be able to rely on a skill set or a trade-based skill, I now [am]
able to. It's a hidden gem, " she says.
Those who have been in the field but need to renew their
licenses can benefit from the program as well.
The CCLS has paired with a charter school that wants to
help the library gather and monitor statistics about the impact
on the community. By next year, they plan to have 120 ninth
graders going through the program, with the study extended
to students in all grades.
Library officials are looking for subject-matter experts in
the community who can help set up apprenticeships for those
who have completed the program. To help with an apprenticeship,
contact Lett at (770) 210-5234.
For more information about the VR training, visit the
library website at claytonpl.org/interplay-learning.
-Tara Woodin
TARA WOODIN
T
A
R A
W
O
O
D I
N
http://www.claytonpl.org/interplay-learning

Georgia Magazine - April 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - April 2022

Contents
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - 4
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - 5
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - 6
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - 7
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - 8
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Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - Cover4
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