Lehman College is the first local higher educational institution to offer an 11-month training program as part of its new Virtual Reality Training Academy and Development Lab. The college is partnering with EON Reality Inc., a world leader in virtual and augmented reality knowledge transfer, and is accepting applicants for the course that will begin on April 24. Topics of study will include animation, 3D graphics, and web design.
The non-credit course will be held on nights and weekends at Lehman’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies to maximize participation. Tuition will be $499 for CUNY students and employees, and $599 for non-CUNY applicants and will be linked to employment opportunities in the fast-growing fields of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). One of the academy’s significant goals is to train the borough’s growing sector of technology professionals.
“This vital partnership with EON Reality is a great example of how Lehman is cementing its place as the most important, mission-critical senior college of The City University of New York,” said José Luis Cruz, President of Lehman College. “This effort will provide our students with invaluable, state-of-the-art experiential training and position them for career opportunities in the burgeoning VR/AR industry.”
The first step of the process is to complete an online application. Potential applicants can learn more about the academy at its first open house on Wednesday, February 1 at CUNY on the Concourse, from 6-8 p.m. A second open house will be held on March 16 at the same location and time. CUNY on the Concourse is located at 2501 Grand Concourse (at Fordham Road), 3rd floor, Bronx, NY. For more information and to apply, please visit: http://lehman.edu/vr/ and www.eonreality.com.
The program is looking for highly motivated applicants who have a background in computer science, web development, game design, architecture, mathematics, and related fields. Candidates who are passionate gaming and design hobbyists will also be considered. The 11-month program starts with three months of classes in which students will be immersed in VR and AR content creation and theory. The following eight months will be devoted to real-life lab projects that students can use to develop their entrepreneurial skills. Additionally, the facility will include an Icube Mobile, a four-wall immersive VR room that will enable students to experience and test their creations.
Sunyata Smith, a doctoral lecturer in the Lehman School of Education’s Department of Middle and High School, is applying to the new program so she can incorporate VR and AR into her science classes. She believes these are skills that will be taught in future classrooms with K-12 students.
“Science can be very abstract and AR and VR gives students an opportunity to visualize theoretical concepts. EON’s tools are pretty amazing and provide a powerful technology platform on which students can learn,” said Smith.
Smith’s interest in VR started in 2009 as an avid user of Second Life, the online virtual world and marketplace. Later, she taught herself how to create 3D games and models. “I believe that Lehman’s VR Academy and Lab have the potential to equip students with the skills that are necessary to create groundbreaking educational VR content that will help to elevate education to the next plateau,” Smith added.
The Virtual Reality Training Academy is a major addition to the Bronx, which hopes to see significant job growth in the technology sector. Student recruitment for the program will focus on those who live or work in the region, as well as students from all CUNY institutions, particularly those located in the Bronx: Lehman College, Hostos Community College and Bronx Community College.
“Advances in science and technology move at the speed of light and our higher-learning educational institutions must keep up, at the same pace, with the changes that occur in their field,” said Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. “I am extremely proud of my alma mater, Lehman College, launching a Virtual Reality Training Academy, understanding the importance of teaching new career fields and giving their students—our future leaders in science and technology—the necessary tools to adapt and compete with the best-of-the best in the global job market. I want to thank Lehman College for starting up this program and providing our brightest students with the most modern means to elevate their career skill-sets, bolstering our local, city and national economy in the long-term by providing quality education, further enhancing he Bronx’s workforce.”
As industries continue to be disrupted by technological advances, new fields are emerging and workers will need retraining to adapt and stay competitive. The Virtual and Augmented Reality field is quickly growing and will require an infusion of talent to meet the market’s demands, which some project could be $150 billion by 2020. EON Reality’s seventeen years of experience in using Virtual Reality for training and education will empower Lehman to create VR learning modules to help train workers for other industries.
Director, Media Relations