VR Job Training Launched at Clayton County Library System

Georgia’s Clayton County Library System has launched a new job training program that enables patrons to use virtual reality (VR) headsets to simulate hands-on experiences in various trades including plumbing, commercial and residential HVAC, and even solar panel installation.

Two women inside a Clayton County Library System branch  (one in a VR headset using the VR job training program)Georgia’s Clayton County Library System (CCLS) has launched a new job training program that enables patrons to use virtual reality (VR) headsets to simulate hands-on experiences in various trades including plumbing, commercial and residential HVAC, and even solar panel installation. CCLS believes that it is the first VR job training program offered at a U.S. public library.

Assistant Library Director Marquita Gooch-Voyd recommended the Interplay Learning software underlying the program during a meeting when the team was discussing possible innovations they could introduce to the library. She explained that trade industries are losing qualified people, especially since many people are retiring. They’ve begun recruiting high school students, notably rising seniors and current seniors, which made a VR training solution a good possible fit, because “It was easier to bill it as edutainment,” she said. “It's entertaining because it's virtual reality, and it seems like a game. But it's also educational, because you're actively learning a valuable skill.”

Right now, Gooch-Voyd said that virtual reality is being used for training in several industries, such as aviation. It seemed to fit the trends that were already happening in technology in general as well as libraries, she said.

CCLS signed up for a free trial and had its building and maintenance staff try it out and see what they thought, according to Director Rosalind Lett. The test proved successful, so the library decided to purchase licenses to offer to anyone in the county—the Interplay software is offered as one-time purchase and includes immediate access to any additional modules or updated modules that Interplay releases. Interested libraries can contact the company for price quotes based on their education plans. The program began in November 2021 and had 90 participants through the end of February.

Of the 90 people who have participated so far, 70 percent were women, but in the current round, the gender balance is closer to half. Patrons aged 17 to 70 have participated. One 70-year old woman owned several properties and wanted to learn how to handle plumbing issues herself. Many patrons have expressed interest in trying Interplay because they may be considering a career change.


The modules have participants learn step by step how to fix a plumbing or wiring issue virtually. Lessons, available in both English and Spanish, go over tools needed and then present opportunities for participants to solve HVAC or electrical issues themselves.

Library users have two months to complete as many of the modules as they wish, receiving a certificate for every completed module, and even more importantly, continuing education credits that could be applied to a trade school degree. The training modules can last anywhere from 2-10 hours, but each lesson lasts a few minutes.

While the system is available in virtual reality in the library, patrons can also complete the modules on their mobiles, laptops/home computers, and tablets. One participant reportedly would take lessons on their tablet while commuting and then switch to their computer when they got home.

For folks interested in using a virtual reality headset, the program is compatible with HTC Vive, original Oculus, and Oculus Quest 2, though CCLS representatives said that they’ve had better results with the Oculus Quest 2.


There’s been such a great demand for the job training program—the library has already started a wait list for the third round—that the staff is writing the program into more grant proposals that target specific populations, Lett said. They recently got a grant for seven licenses for veterans.

The library system worked with a local judge who wanted to offer job training services for people who appear before the court. Now there are five CCLS licenses reserved for the court system. The library is in talks for other target groups to have access as well.


As the library system continues to grow the program, the team is also thinking about partnering with people and trade organizations to provide the next step for program participants who complete the training modules.  The library staff is working to find subject matter experts to set up apprenticeships, Lett said, “So once people go through the program, they can then go to an apprenticeship where they can actually learn on the job, and then get a job in that field. We've had a couple people contact us.”

When asked what advice she has for other library systems that are considering purchasing Interplay or other similar software, Gooch-Voyd recommended securing the funding for the software licenses—all of the library’s licenses were paid for with grant funding. To do so, it’s important to show the impact that the software will have on people’s lives, especially since the White House has put out a call for more skilled workers, she said.

Make sure to sign up for a trial and invite anyone you could be a is a partner to an informational session to try it out, Gooch-Voyd also suggested. “Stick them in the VR helmet, let them really get a full, well-rounded experience.”

Ultimately, Lett hopes that people go to the library and learn about new innovations and technology, instead of paying a lot of money for various classes. Lett concluded, “We just kind of want them to know that the library is the place for them to come. It's our job. We're not the first responders out there, but we are the second responders, and we're the ones to help them kind of put their life back together once life is beating them down.”

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