Kessler Foundation, one of the largest public charities in the United States, is awarding a virtual reality training project to support high school students with disabilities.
The foundation is providing a two-year, $485,000 Signature Employment Grant to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, to launch the Virtual Reality Job Interview Training program.
Kessler Foundation says, the VR program will allow for highly personalized role-play, with precise feedback and coaching that may be repeated as often as desired without fear or embarrassment.
The program uses speech recognition software to simulate job interviews between students and virtual interviewers allowing trainees to make errors in a safe environment. The aim is to increase the employment amongst the high school students with disabilities.
“Job interviewing is a particularly challenging barrier to employment for students with disabilities. This virtual reality training program is designed to engage students and better prepare them to gain employment upon graduation,” said Elaine E. Katz, MS, CCC-SLP, senior vice president of grants and communications at Kessler Foundation, in a written statement.
The University of Michigan will partner with the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Rehabilitation Service to replicate this project in high schools across Illinois.
The dedicated amount for the virtual reality project is part of $2.5 million in grants awarded by Kessler Foundation last year to organizations across the U.S. to support initiatives that create and expand job training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.