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Virtual Reality Training is Helping War Vets Prepare for New Jobs

Virtual Reality Training is Helping War Vets Prepare for New Jobs

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory and its partners recently developed a new way for veterans to seek employment.

The Virtual Training Agent for Veterans, or VITA4VETS, is a virtual simulation practice system designed to build job interviewing competence and confidence, while reducing anxiety. Although Army researchers and developers at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, Google.org and the Dan Marino Foundation originally developed the training system to help those with autism prepare for job interviews, they soon realized its potential to help veterans.

Juan Gutierrez, a 33-year-old Navy veteran with experience in aviation electronics was satisfied with the new style of interview.

“Answering questions with a virtual human rather than a real human helped me feel less nervous, and I could practice different responses and there were no repercussions with the avatar,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said he had more confidence and the experience was as much an interview for a potential employer as it was for him.

“I learned I could ask questions too. Instead of feeling nervous — like I am being tested, it was a way for me to be honest and learn if it (the job) is something I’d like to do. Overall, VITA helped me feel confident with my interview,” said Gutierrez.

In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 20.9 million men and women were veterans, accounting for about nine percent of the civilian non-institutional population age 18 and over. Of those 20.9 million, more than 450,000 were unemployed.

The military provides transition training, but when one considers the unemployment statistics and challenges service members face, it underscores the urgency for creating methods to better prepare veterans for civilian employment.

If there is any way that Virtual Reality tech can help these folks that have made such a great sacrifice to their country, then by all means we at 360VR Community support this.