Training Simulation in High School: Career Exploration and Skills Development

August 22nd, 2022
Recruoting the Next Generation

A recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek [1] noted that employers are increasingly working with their local high schools to develop new programs that combine classroom learning with on-the-job training. The objective: grow your own skilled workers.

“With almost two openings for every person looking for work, US companies are increasingly tapping high school students for skilled jobs … It’s all part of a national rethink by employers scrambling to fill about 10.7 million vacancies by developing their own talent pipelines.” [1]

The problem? Many high school students (and their parents) only think about college, despite the (sobering) news that the average US college graduate is now “carrying” about $38,000 in debt [2].

The Importance of Expanding Career Exploration

The fact is, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that about 60 percent of new jobs in the economy will not require a college degree [3], and that’s why high schools are expanding the scope of what’s called “career exploration” to include vocational programs that require skilled work like operating heavy equipment, especially in construction.

Here the NCCER plays a leading role, with Build Your Future designed “to promote opportunities for careers in construction … to reach young people and their families”.

But when you’re only sixteen (and perhaps still a bit small in size), no one’s going to let you climb into a real cabin to “explore” operating a real excavator, to “see” if this is something you could do, enjoy doing, and so consider as a possible career. Indeed, that’s why traditional “apprenticeship” programs from organizations such as the International Union of Operating Engineers target adults. (Many locals of the Operating Engineers are Simlog customers).

What to do? Training simulation to the rescue!

Career Exploration and Developing Skills (for the real world)

The fact is, when you’re only sixteen, you can absolutely “explore” operating (simulated) heavy equipment by sitting in the “cabin” of a training simulator. And when the simulation graphics and physics are “good enough”, and the simulated work is based on real world “Practical Exams” (demonstration of skills tests) such as those defined by the NCCER’s “Heavy Equipment Operations” [4], then you’ll be developing operating skills for the real world.

And that’s what Simlog’s (high school) customers are already doing. First, in the Junior year, an hour at the simulator every week (per person) gives students a “taste” of operating heavy equipment; that’s the career exploration. Then, in the Senior year, there’s an hour every day; that’s the skills development.  Finally, when those students turn eighteen, they take those operating skills to the high school’s industry partner to complete their training at the controls of real heavy equipment, while earning a real wage. And you’ll find some examples presented elsewhere on Simlog’s Web site [5].

Isn’t time to add training simulation to your high school programs?

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[1] “Apprenticeships Make a Comeback”, Bloomberg Businessweek, August 8, 2022.

[2] “The Bloomberg New Economy Catalysts”, Bloomberg Businessweek, August 8, 2022.

[3] “Fast-growing occupations that pay well and don’t require a college degree”, June 2022,

[4] NCCER “Heavy Equipment Operations”,

[5] Simlog “Education – High School” Customer Success Stories,