What do you want to be when you grow up? It's a question we all ask our children, yet many young people today graduate from high school without a clear answer.
Since 1999 Future Leaders Outreach Network (FLON), a non-profit headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, with regional offices in Kansas City, KS and Arlington, TX, has been working to change this, inspiring young students to think about their future career or job. With support from the Kansas City Kansas Public Schools Foundation for Excellence, FLON’s YouLEAD program exposes students grade 5-11 to different career paths.
Today, T-Mobile 5G is infusing new life into this program by powering Educational Virtual Reality (E-VR) career simulations. Using two mobile trailers equipped with T-Mobile 5G, Oculus Quest and HTC VIVE Pro 2 headsets, FLON travels to schools and other community locations. There it conducts an E-VR program that encourages young students to explore potential future occupations via 25 different career path simulations developed by VictoryXR, CareerLabsVR and others.
"Our mission is to provide young people with skills that empower them to set goals, become effective leaders, pursue economic well-being and make healthy choices," said Dr. Diana E. Clemons, Executive Director of Future Leaders Outreach Network. "We teach students how to set behavioral boundaries from drugs, alcohol, tobacco, all forms of violence and prevention from teen pregnancy in order to stay focused on pursuing their dreams. We strongly believe they will become our future leaders and entrepreneurs, and that they are destined to soar to new heights."
With the E-VR program, students can perform work as an industrial robotics technician running diagnostics, submitting performance logs and adjusting line speeds inside a manufacturing facility. Students can virtually enter a construction worksite and perform tasks such as operating a forklift or other heavy machinery. And students can experience the daily responsibilities of an HVAC technician working on a rooftop to assess equipment, troubleshoot broken fans and wiring and perform maintenance tasks. Other career pathways available to explore include jobs as first responders, residential and industrial electricians and welders and more.
Prior to using T-Mobile 5G inside the mobile trailers, the VR headsets were powered by AT&T service, but FLON found that the lack of a consistent high-speed connection or the inability to operate more than 12 headsets at a time became an issue. Now, T-Mobile 5G provides the coverage, low latency, high-capacity and speed needed to run bandwidth-intensive VR applications on multiple devices.
"With T-Mobile 5G we don't have to worry about finding a high-quality connection - we can just go where we are needed and connect 12-15 headsets in each trailer or 25 headsets in the classroom simultaneously. This flexibility allows us to operate in more locations and reach more students, and that has been a tremendous boost for the YouLEAD program," said Dr. Clemons.
FLON's E-VR trailers currently serve schools within the Kansas City Kansas School Public Schools and FLON recently expanded to reach two additional schools in Kansas City, Missouri. This school year Dr. Clemons hopes to serve up to 3,000 students and expand the program even further next year.
"This collaboration is a beautiful example of how public, private and non-profit entities can work together to make a real difference in the community," said Christal Watson, Executive Director of Kansas City Kansas Public Schools Foundation for Excellence. "When you impact students, you impact families, and that's what I love most about this program."
5G is Transforming Education
Education is one of many industries being transformed today by 5G. Just like smartphone apps built on 4G networks revolutionized the mobile economy in ways no one could have predicted, the same is true with 5G, but with innovation expected at a much greater scale across all industries. Fueling this innovation and keeping people better connected is why T-Mobile is building the largest, fastest and most advanced 5G network in the country. Learn more about 5G.
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