Career Clarity Pod opens a virtual door to help job seekers learn about new career pathways

 By John Flanagan, president and chief executive officer, CareerSource Tampa Bay

When our One Stop Operator for CareerSource Tampa Bay, Paul Casebolt, first heard about virtual reality job training plans, he was skeptical.

“How realistic can this be if it’s built around a video game-type platform?” he asked.

John Flanagan

Then, he tried it.

After putting on the virtual reality headset, and grabbing the hand controllers, he was quickly transported into an automotive garage and learning how to do an oil change. Casebolt harkened back to when he was 15 with a new driving learner’s permit. His father took him out to the driveway on Saturday morning and taught him how to change the oil on the family car. He kept this in mind when going through the virtual reality simulator, carefully paying attention to each step of the process.

“Everything that my dad taught me about changing oil was covered in that process, down to when you get ready to change the filter back on to the vehicle: You dip your finger into the oil bottle and rub the oil around the O-rings to help create a better seal for the O-ring filter. That was kind of the piece of it that I was looking for.”

And from there, he was sold on the technology for career training.

As President & CEO of CareerSource Tampa Bay, we work with businesses and candidates to leverage their existing skills and identify training needs that lead to better opportunities, retention and upward mobility in the workforce for the talent we work with.  We recently launched the Career Clarity Pod for career seekers, to help them explore new opportunities. This virtual reality tool provides people, particularly those who are looking to transition into a new career, or first-time job seekers out of high school, with some hands-on experience before committing to the cost of training for a new role.

“This is a tool that job seekers can use to search for occupations that utilizes technology in generate interest. We have identified four targeted career sectors that offer a lot of opportunities here in Hillsborough County, so we’re starting with those four sectors,” said CareerSource Tampa Bay Senior Vice President and Chief of Sector Partnerships, Byron Clayton.

Information technology, business and finance, tourism, hospitality, and healthcare are among the fastest growing industries in Hillsborough County. The virtual reality headsets, in the Career Clarity Pod, is the newest resource CareerSource Tampa Bay is using to connect job seekers with in-demand positions that we project will see more growth in Hillsborough County, in the next five years.

“Many students who attend college, or even technical schools, spend a lot of money learning about an area they think they want to go into, only to learn it doesn’t suit them,” said Casebolt, adding that he changed majors seven times. “This costs more money, and time in training, and can have an adverse effect on learning potential.”

One of the reasons college students change their majors is they take on an internship in their area of interest and find they don’t like it, according to U.S. News & Report.

“So many people put time, energy and money into a training process, not really knowing if that’s what they want to do. Virtual reality allows them to experience a job, in a safe and controlled environment, before they go through the process of doing that training,” said Casebolt. “It allows us to put people in the position to try it before you buy it.”

This is, no doubt, a game-changer to the core of what we are at CareerSource Tampa Bay, empowering workers to achieve success while driving sustainable, positive change in our community. For our career seekers who are unsure of the work they want to do, to our employers who are seeking to fill positions, we are certain this will help elevate our services to match talent with meaningful work.

CareerSource Tampa Bay is proud to offer this emerging technology for career training as it will, no doubt, help thousands of career seekers identify the career path they will to pursue, help increase their marketability and connect them to the right employers in Tampa Bay.

At the end of the day, we work with our partners to build a professional, capable and engaged labor force for our employer community, leading to a better quality of life for the career seekers we serve.

To learn more about all that CareerSource Tampa Bay has to offer, visit, Home – CareerSource Tampa Bay. Individuals or groups who would like to schedule a time to explore a career in the Career Clarity Pod can connect with Paul Casebolt at [email protected].

Visit the STB Career Clarity Pod.

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