Hyundai Launches VR Training Initiative to Grow Manufacturing Talent in Alabama

Innovative partnership with state workforce agency, tech startup TRANSFR will prepare Alabama workers for roles in the state’s fast-growing manufacturing sector through immersive job training

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--()--AIDT, Alabama’s state workforce development agency, today announced a statewide program in collaboration with Hyundai Power Transformers (HPT), the division of Hyundai Electric Systems that specializes in the manufacture of power transformers used in electrical grids across the U.S. Built in collaboration with immersive learning startup TRANSFR, the partnership is making job training in one of Alabama’s fastest-growing industries accessible to thousands of unemployed workers and aspiring manufacturing professionals across the state.

“This is an application of VR technology that extends well beyond what many of us are familiar with from gaming or consumer apps. It's about harnessing the potential of immersive learning to train and certify employees on critical, in-demand skills at unprecedented scale,” said Tony Wojciechowski, Chief Human Resource Officer at HPT. “It's providing employers like us with a powerful new tool to train, recruit, and hire talent right here in Alabama.”

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, the manufacturing sector accounts for 17% of Alabama's total economic output (nearly $38 billion as of 2018) and 13% percent of the state’s jobs (271,000 total jobs as of 2019). The latest collaboration between AIDT and HPT, a partnership that dates back more than a decade, is helping to address part of the ambitious state economic development goal set by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey in 2018 to add 500,000 highly skilled employees to Alabama’s workforce by 2025.

“By putting this powerful solution in the hands of employers like HPT, we’re helping them to make good on their commitment to hire Alabama residents for good-paying manufacturing jobs,” said Ed Castile, deputy secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce and Executive Director, AIDT. “This is about not just meeting the training and safety needs of industry partners, but also creating a repeatable and cost-efficient approach that can be applied in the context of other heavy industries, such as aviation and shipbuilding.”

At the core of the unique public-private partnership is a simulation of HPT’s seven-story manufacturing facility developed by immersive learning pioneer TRANSFR. Within the simulation, workers gain first-hand invaluable experiences with the safety protocols required to operate heavy machinery and equipment of up to 400 tons, lifting power transformers as heavy as 800,000 pounds.

The training initiative is helping to increase compliance with industry standards as HPT employees learn how to operate and service cranes within OSHA standards, using a highly repeatable and consistent training process.

“Alabama is leading the way in harnessing the potential of technology to unlock economic opportunity for citizens across the state,” said Bharani Rajakumar, founder and CEO of TRANSFR. “This is about expanding access to complex and high-stakes training to fulfill the state’s workforce development goals and fulfill growing demand from major manufacturers like HPT.”

Hyundai Power Transformers and the State of Alabama are leaders within a fast-growing community of states, community colleges, and employers including Lockheed Martin, that are now leveraging the power of virtual simulations to boost employee performance, drive retention, and help workers develop hands-on skills required for on-the-job success.

To learn more, join leaders from AIDT and Hyundai Power Transformers on February 3 for a panel discussion on the Hoist and Crane safety training.

About AIDT: AIDT is a state agency established to build a healthy state economy by recruiting and training a skilled workforce to attract new industries to the state and to expand existing industries. As a division of the Alabama Department of Commerce, AIDT provides a full range of customized technical training programs that are offered at no cost to employers and to the trainees. Leadership training programs are also available. In addition to training, AIDT offers services including trainee recruitment and screening, safety assistance, and industrial maintenance assessments.

About Hyundai Power Transformers: Hyundai Power Transformers utilizes the most recently developed technology and design to create power transformers that fit the customer's various requirements. The product lines of the plant include an oil immersed transformer, a dry type transformer, a cast resin transformer, and a special type transformer. The newly constructed Hyundai Power Transformers USA facility has the ability to become the leading plant in the power industry due to its highly developed technology and proven commitment to building the best product line for its customers. For more information, visit:

About TRANSFR: TRANSFR is on a mission to make learning more intuitive by helping individuals develop the skills they need for career success. What began as an idea quickly transformed into a movement; TRANSFR is built on the understanding that we must disrupt the status quo to create a more prosperous future, building bridges between schools, workplaces, and governments to make jobs more accessible and create a better tomorrow, today. For more information, visit


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Ben Watsky,