Educators and others from throughout Greater Kansas City are invited to a free workshop on virtual reality (VR) and the exploding range of employment opportunities it represents for today’s young people.
Powered by OmniLife VR of North Kansas City and sponsored by William Jewell College, the May 16 event at the college will introduce attendees to virtual reality in fields such as education, health and fitness with the goal of creating future leaders in this technology.
“As one of the top 10 cities in America for emerging technology, Kansas City is the perfect place for virtual reality,” explained Marco Stanich, president of OmniLife VR. “We’ll show educators how this amazing technology is going to change entire industries and professions, while opening career opportunities for their students.”
Stanich said one hurdle involves a stigma sometimes associated with VR because of gaming. He said the biggest uses today are actually not gaming but in areas where VR has shown remarkable impact with older, dementia patients, wounded veterans and others.
“The biggest VR focus isn’t gaming but in areas like schools, retirement centers, fitness centers and hospice,” he said. As proof, Stanich comes armed with documents and videos detailing success with VR applications. One shows an elderly nursing home resident, obviously withdrawn and depressed, who becomes talkative and animated after a VR session. Another involves a wounded Afghanistan veteran whose recovery accelerates after she can relive her love of roller coasters through VR.
Stanich also works with both the Northland and Southland CAPS (Center for Advanced Professional Studies) organizations and is training several as “VR Guides” who work with VR participants in nursing homes and other locations. He’s also involved with several veterans' organizations and medical professionals who are seeing remarkable results with VR applications.
Stanich initially developed the initiative because his company has found it difficult to find good VR developers in the KC area. His goal is to equip a minimum of 100 developers in the near future, but his work with CAPS and other programs illustrates a bigger goal, too. “We can impact people’s lives,” he concluded.
Annual events with scholarships for students are being planned, starting Sept. 27 at Hi-Vee Arena. The event Thursday, May 16, will begin at 7:30 a.m. in the Yates-Gill College Union at William Jewell College. Those who register before May 1 will receive a free lunch. Registration is available online at this link. More information is also available by contacting OmniLife VR at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 816-734-8700.