AUSTIN, Texas, July 10, 2024 ~ Interplay Learning, the leading provider of immersive skilled trades training, has recently announced a partnership with the DBAKE Foundation, a non-profit organization based in St. Louis. The foundation is dedicated to promoting construction trades education for underserved youth and was founded in 2022 by general contractor Annamarie Baker.

The DBAKE Foundation's mission is to fulfill the vision of Annamarie's late son, Damion Baker, by creating awareness around trades careers and providing greater access to leading career training for underrepresented residents of St. Louis. Through this partnership with Interplay Learning, the foundation will be integrating Interplay Academy job-ready certificate programs into their six-week pre-apprenticeship program.

Starting in September 2024, the pre-apprenticeship program will offer Interplay Academy job-ready certificate pathways in various trades such as HVAC, plumbing, electrical work, construction, multi-family maintenance, building maintenance, and appliances. These pathways will utilize immersive 3D simulations, virtual reality technology, and high-impact video content to guide learners from zero trade skills to job-ready status. Participants will also receive career support and in-person instruction to help them earn an Interplay Learning Job-Ready Certificate and industry-recognized certifications like OSHA10 and EPA 608.

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Annamarie Baker expressed her excitement about this partnership stating that "DBAKE's partnership with Interplay Learning marks a pivotal moment in our journey." She believes that with Interplay's innovative technology, they can not only modernize education but also increase access to careers that have great potential for growth in their community.

One unique aspect of Interplay Learning's training is its video game-like approach which makes learning engaging and enjoyable for participants. This method resonates well with today's tech-savvy youth and helps them better understand complex trade skills.

The inaugural class of this partnership will be hosted by Employ St. Louis at R&R Marketplace in Dellwood, a revitalized community hub. At the end of the program, a job fair will be held to facilitate direct connections between learners and potential employers. The DBAKE Foundation's strong industry connections with major employers and union partners will also ensure that graduates can smoothly transition into structured registered apprenticeships and employment opportunities.

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Doug Donovan, CEO and founder of Interplay Learning, shared his thoughts on the partnership saying, "At Interplay, our goal has always been to equip individuals with the tools for success in the trades." He believes that this partnership with the DBAKE Foundation showcases their dedication to making a real impact in communities by bridging gaps and creating opportunities for aspiring tradespeople.

For those interested in supporting the DBAKE Foundation and their mission, donations can be made through their website or by emailing them directly. With this partnership between Interplay Learning and the DBAKE Foundation, they are forging a future where every aspiring tradesperson can thrive.
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