Seven Boys and Girls Clubs across eastern Montana now have a chance to explore career paths without leaving the property thanks to some virtual goggles.
Two boys had a chance to see and experience some jobs that they might want to pursue on Thursday.
The headsets and controllers help students find out what the work is like.
"You had to learn safety with a saw and changing a saw blade," said Wyatt Keierleber, a 6th-grade member at the Bair Family Center. "And I really liked that one because it kind of came down to like the finest detail."
"Box and loading package," said Korbin Elsenpeter, also a 6th grader at the center. "Like use the shears to cut the metal and then you had to scan it then cut the metal that was holding it together and you had to put the boxes away in a safe spot."
The boys and girls clubs received a $1.586 million grant from the governor's office's emergency education relief fund for the virtual reality career exploration program.
"How do we get them excited, especially as they get a little bit older?" Brian Dennis, Boys & Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County president & C.E.O., asked. "This technology when we saw it, we're like Eureka! It's the tool that we were looking for. That sugar, the sprinkles to get the kids excited."
There are 23 possible jobs to experience in construction, manufacturing, automotive, aviation, and maintenance.
Changing the oil is also one of the jobs.
"I've never actually watched that, but Korbin said it was pretty accurate," Keierleber said.
"Actually seemed spot on," Elsenpeter said about the virtual oil change.
The company that has designed the technology, Transfr VR, has training for adults, but says this program works very well for students.
"If you can catch them with a technology that they're already getting interested in and engaged with, and show them in real life what it's like to do these kinds of jobs, then you can start to build that that chain that leads directly to jobs with living wages and great community," said Brian Hartz, Transfr VR partner relationship manager.
"Our goal is having about 1,100 kids finish at least 10 simulations," Dennis said. "They can get excited about the technology, but we can capitalize on that excitement to help them continue to move forward."
Dennis said the plan is to also take the virtual jobs to schools.
The grant from Nov. 1, 2021 to Sept. 30, 2023 takes care of 75 headsets for the Boys & Girls Clubs.