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Technology Drives Innovative Workforce Development

entertainment technology center / alumni

Carnegie Mellon University spinoff Simcoach Games hosted leaders from Pennsylvania State departments as part of Governor Tom Wolf's "Jobs That Pay" Tour.

"At the state level, one of the biggest challenges we face in our efforts to improve our business climate is ensuring that our workforce is equipped with the skills and training it needs to succeed in an economy that changes and evolves faster than ever before," said Carol Kilko, deputy secretary for the Department of Community and Economic Development. "It's truly exciting to see a company like Simcoach Games assisting in that goal by using technology to put their own innovative spin on workforce development and STEM."

Founded in 2005 by Jessica Trybus, a Carnegie Mellon alumna and special faculty at the university's Entertainment Technology Center, Simcoach Games develops games that expose workers to job skills and connects them to career opportunities. The company serves organizations within the retail, construction, manufacturing, government and health care industries. It builds on the work by the ETC, which is internationally renowned for its research and development in applying video game technologies for educational purposes.

"Our goal at Simcoach Games is to inspire the next generation of the workforce and connect them to excellent career pathways using free, mobile video games," Trybus said.

In 2015, Simcoach Games launched its workforce development platform, the Simcoach Skill Arcade, allowing youth and millennials to play video games to explore potential careers. Trybus said innovative workforce development solutions like this will change the future.

"Our company benefits greatly from workforce development efforts that are contributing to the world-class talent pool in Pittsburgh, and these initiatives can have a profound impact on individuals lives," Trybus said.

At the March 27 event, Wolf administration officials discussed with the company ways in which they can support workforce development and how the public and private sectors can come together to strengthen our workforce through STEM education, apprenticeship programs, job training and more.

"Workforce development tools like these are essential in fostering a 21st century workforce, as they help job seekers expand their skill set to become more attractive and marketable to employers," said Eileen Cipriani, deputy secretary for the Department of Labor & Industry. "They also encourage youth and adults to explore jobs in the STEM industries, leading to careers that otherwise may not have been considered."

Governor Wolf recently launched the PASmart initiative to promote 21st century jobs and skills and to help all Pennsylvanians prepare for successful careers.

"To succeed academically, students need to grow socially and emotionally, too," said Debbie Reeves, deputy secretary for the Department of Education. "Adopting innovative approaches to learning can help all students thrive, and ultimately graduate college or be career ready."