KANSAS CITY – William Jewell College sponsors a free workshop on virtual reality and the range of employment opportunities it represents beginning at 7:30 a.m., Thursday, May 16, in the Yates-Gill College Union at William Jewell College.
The event is open to educators and others from throughout Kansas City.
OmniLife VR of North Kansas City will introduce attendees to virtual reality in fields such as education, and 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,” Marco Stanich, president of OmniLife VR, said. “We will show educators how this amazing technology is going to change entire industries and professions, while opening career opportunities for their students.”
He said one hurdle involves a stigma sometimes associated with VR because of gaming.
“The biggest VR focus is not gaming but in areas like schools, retirement centers, fitness centers and hospice,” he said.
Stanich will show 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 One shows an elderly nursing home resident, obviously withdrawn and depressed, who becomes talkative and animated after a VR session.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.
He works with both the Northland and Southland 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 is 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 said.
Annual events with scholarships for students are planned, starting Sept. 27 at Hy-Vee Arena.