Breaking News
More () »

Virtual reality headset lets Midlands young adults explore different careers through SC Works Midlands

SC Works Midlands is providing "My Legacy" workshops to residents age 17-24 facing barriers. Attendees can use Oculus VR headsets to explore different careers.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — From fighting fires to fixing cars, Midlands teenagers and young adults can explore different career opportunities using Oculus virtual reality headsets. This is a part of "My Legacy" workshops offered through SC Works Midlands

Xavia Miller is a recent high school graduate who is using the organization to work toward her goal of becoming a registered nurse. Although she has a job in mind, she wanted to see what it was like to try out other options.

She strapped on the VR headset and spent some time working in an automobile shop...without ever leaving the SC Works workshop room.

"It felt so real," Miller explained. "I kept trying to stick my hand on the thing. I couldn’t but it was so cool."

The career options include manufacturing, skilled trades, warehousing and storage, hospitality and tourism, public safety and automotive jobs.

RELATED: Free career counseling offered by local organizations trying to help Midlands residents land their next job

Youth career advisor Latrice Jones helps lead the workshops. Through the program, Jones says she's seen "a lot of our youth get jobs."

"Some of these youth they don’t have reliable transportation so being able to do everything in one spot is very helpful for them," Jones said.

In addition to the VR experience, the workshops cover topics including resume writing, interview techniques and how to dress professionally.

These programs are available to people age 17 to 24 who are facing certain barriers, like disabilities or lack of a G.E.D. That said, even people who aren’t facing these can still attend career counseling, according to Career Readiness Coordinator Kyra Bradley.

"If there’s a will, there’s a way. We'll definitely help them get employment or certification that they may need," Bradley told me.

This is beneficial for people like Miller who are taking advantage of this opportunity.

RELATED: Assisted living facility adds virtual reality for residents

"We should, like, get this going like forreal in schools and colleges and stuff," Miller said. "That will help a lot of people out. Everybody cannot just look at a piece of paper or look at a computer screen. We all learn differently."

SC Works is trying to get more VR headsets to offer different career options, including culinary arts and healthcare.

"You can say ‘Okay, I want to do phlebotomy, but do I actually want to do phlebotomy?’ so it kind of gets that hands-on extra learning," Bradley shared.

Expanding into healthcare daily practices is exciting to Miller, who said she would take advantage of the opportunity if it was offered.

According to Miller, this could "change the world. Because like we could learn that way. A lot of us are hands-on, or get like…we've got to visually see it and do it."

RELATED: Several businesses in Kershaw County are struggling to find workers

Next month, there will be two My Legacy workshops on Sept. 7 and Sept. 21 at 9:30 a.m.

While this specific service is designed for young adults facing barriers, the organization also offers other free career counseling services to other Midlands residents.

Before You Leave, Check This Out