Women incarcerated in a Maryland prison are learning auto mechanic skills through a first-ever virtual reality training program.
It’s expected that within five years, 20 jails across the U.S. will implement similar programs.
It’s part of the Vehicles for Change auto mechanic virtual reality training program. The first is happening at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup, Maryland. Through virtual reality training, the women earn Vehicles for Change Virtual Reality certification.
Five graduated from the first class. The second class is now underway.
Vehicles for Change is an interactive, virtual garage training using a curriculum created by master technicians and instructors.
Skills they learn include how to use an auto lift, complete an oil change, replace a set of brakes and removing and replacing a tire using a tire changing and tire balancing machine.
“Skills training like this is usually very expensive. However, virtual reality training cuts costs by more than 75 per cent while still providing instruction on basic auto mechanic skills,” said Vehicles for Change president Marty Schwartz.
Former prisoners face challenges getting back into the workforce. And the auto care industry is struggling to fortify its ranks, she added.
“This is a win-win for everyone because returning citizens can take jobs that the automotive industry has been struggling to fill,” Schwartz said.