Unity Technologies, a global leader in real-time 3D (RT3D) gaming technologies, is also a major proponent of upskilling and training for extended reality (XR) developers globally.
Congressional support for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality (VR/AR/MR) technologies has recently gained steam. Washington’s support for the Immerse Technology for the American Workforce Act is set to tackle the current skills shortage across the nation.
XR Today interviewed Jessica Lindl, Vice-President of Social Impact, Unity, to discuss the Act. We also spoke about Unity’s role in the XR Association (XRA) and current challenges in upskilling developers globally.
XR Today: Why is the Act a watershed moment for XR’s advancement across the US?
Jessica Lindl: We believe this legislation represents a watershed moment for XR because it demonstrates that Congress recognizes the transformative power of immersive technologies.
Representatives Blunt-Rochester and Walberg are asking their colleagues to invest in training people today for tomorrow’s jobs. We urge Congress to join them. Government, industry, and civil society all have roles to play in workforce development.
For our part, Unity recently announced our Unity Workforce Grant program in partnership with Jobs for the Future, which will fund immersive training opportunities for future creators. We welcome interest from training programs around the world.
XR Today: Can you update our audience on the current state of the US upskilling and training crisis? How will the Act help resolve it?
Jessica Lindl: In the face of ongoing technological disruption and concerns about the future of work, Unity is focused on training and upskilling programs that create pathways to opportunity quickly and at low cost.
Unity learning materials and certifications are available for self-paced learning at Learn.Unity. These certifications are a key credential and qualified hiring signal for immersive technology developers.
In addition to self-paced learning, we partner with educational and workforce institutions globally to provide hands-on learning with immersive technologies.
Last year, we partnered with Meta on our Higher Ed XR Innovation Grant to support programs at Arizona State University and Clarkson University in New York. We also partnered with the Louisiana Economic Development office to establish a multi-year Unity training program in universities, community, and technical colleges.
XR Today: What are some of the challenges that workforces currently face? Will the rise of the industrial metaverse help to overcome them, and how does Unity factor into this?
Jessica Lindl: We hear companies’ challenges in finding XR developers. Open roles may take months to fill because candidates do not have the requisite skills, whether learned by experience or through formal education. To prepare for tomorrow’s workforce, educational institutions should be offering these desirable skills to their students today.
The potential of the industrial metaverse depends on whether there are enough developers to build it. We have seen how Unity can improve operational efficiency across industries through digital twins, from airport operations in Vancouver, British Columbia to city planning in Orlando, Florida. Unity plans to continue to invest in educational programs that advance opportunities for people through careers in real-time 3D (RT3D) development.
XR Today: In what capacity has Unity’s membership with the XRA expanded use cases and greater XR interoperability?
Jessica Lindl: We’re proud to be a member of the XR Association (XRA) and we are supportive of their work with Congress to develop this legislation. We believe in XRA’s mission to promote the responsible development and thoughtful advancement of XR, which aligns with our vision that the world is a better place with more creators in it.
Industry associations like XRA are critical forums to collaborate on interoperability and other areas where the XR industry continues to drive innovation. We also encourage those interested in receiving funding to apply for our Unity Workforce Grant. Applications for the programme will close on June 2.