The Life Science Work Lab app offers real-life in-game incentives> GSA Business

RadLab, which will soon be available on Google Play and the App Store, will allow players to dabble in a number of jobs in life science, while informing them about how they can pursue those careers in real life.  (Photo / delivered)For those raising the next generation of workforce talent at home, it may be quite clear that 12-year-olds are more likely to learn about future career opportunities from TikTok, YouTube or Duoling than LinkedIn.

Yet much of the online conversation about new career development remains resigned to the corporate sphere for adults.

SkillsGapp, a Greenville-based application platform, seeks to expand that conversation to include an audience taking its first steps toward a career.

Startup offers applications for a variety of fields, including skilled crafts, aviation and advanced manufacturing, as well as the fast-growing life science industry. SkillsGap’s latest app, RadLab, shows careers in life sciences for high school students.

RadLab was first created through talks between the founders of SkillsGap and CEO Tina Zwolinski, Upstate SC Alliance and SCBIO.

“We understand, and the industry understands, that we need to fill that pipeline,” SCBIO CEO James Chappell told SC Biz News, adding that high school is a crucial time in developing interests that are later introduced into a career. “So we want to catch them early enough.”

The free game allows students to try out a number of jobs – from equation research and development to manufacturing to nursing – for size and advancement through a variety of challenges. Teenagers can test new drugs, get approval from the Food and Drug Administration, manage product production and use them to treat hospital patients.

Geofencing will connect players with the non-virtual world of life sciences while playing the game through notes that offer information on local industries and educational pathways in the career they are modeling.

Not only will they play the game and understand what it means to go through these different careers, but they will also have a pop-up that says, if you’re in Columbia, did you know Nephron is in your area and have an average of this amount a year, or if they drive another company, Upstate, it’s the same thing, ”Chappell said. “They acquire life science skills without even being aware of it, and they also learn about these companies and the specific opportunities that exist here.”

If an educational program, such as a certificate from a local technical school, is not available within a certain radius, the mileage limit will be extended to alert players to the nearest programs.

“It really helps that player and that student to find their own interests, which Gen Z does, and then I can turn the conversation around,” Zwolinski said.

He hopes students are more likely to tell their parents, counselor, or teacher about occupations that pique their interest and how to pursue them instead.

In-game and off-game incentives help sweeten the pot.

RadLab, a single-player game, increases competition through a high-scoring board and badges that teens can earn as they move through the “skill tree”. There is also an in-game resume that can be used to inform about decisions about apprenticeships or internships in high school.

Other competitions could bring students the opportunity to observe surgery, visit a lab, organize a pizza party, or win a free semester at a technical college.

“We give them real-world experiences to connect them outside of the game, but we make them fun, making them exciting to align with the game in the game,” Zwolinski said.

The strategic planning phase of the game was launched in April and should be completed later in May. Meanwhile, Greenville’s Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher High School and the Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics are piloting the program, but Zwolinski expects to establish partnerships with institutions and summer camps across the state, particularly Allendale County in Lowcountry.

The easy launch is scheduled for this summer, and a 12-month implementation plan, including a launch poster designed by Fisher High School students, is set to begin this fall.

Contact Molly Hulsey at 864-720-1223.

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