The Office of Skills Development, a division of the Arkansas Department of Commerce, in partnership with the American Trucking Associations’ Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) and Be Pro Be Proud announced Tuesday (Feb. 2) the release of an augmented reality game app to draw a new generation of skilled technicians to the trucking industry and mitigate the technician shortage.
The TMCSuperTech: The Game will be first made available to students and other interested parties in Arkansas, according to a news release.
“In recent years, the state of Arkansas had made significant investments into the training of diesel technicians to provide a pipeline of talent for the trucking industry which is a vital component of the Arkansas economy,” said Cody Waits, director of the Office of Skills Development. “Recognizing that students learn and engage differently has led to the partnership with ATA/TMC and the creation of this gamification app, which will allow Arkansas students to begin exploring the transportation industry and perhaps becoming interested in becoming diesel technicians.”
After a 30-day reveal in the state, the game will be marketed nationally to students, teachers and other interested parties, the release shows. TMCSuperTech: The Game is available free on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
The trucking industry is short more than 25,000 diesel technicians, according to TechForce Foundation. The nonprofit supports students through education leading to qualified technicians. Using tools such as gamification allows students to learn about careers at a younger age and helps to meet the workforce need, according to the news release.
“We are excited to share this engaging learning opportunity with students as they explore possible career paths beyond high school,” said Angela Kremers, director of the Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Career and Technical Education. “Connecting students to careers at an early age is essential to helping them find a career path that connects their interests to future career goals. This game serves as a new and innovative way to peak students’ awareness about becoming a diesel technician.”
The Office of Skills Development has partnered with Be Pro Be Proud to market the app to students across the state. Be Pro Be Proud will offer students access to the TMCSuperTech mobile game during their spring 2021 tour stops.
“TMC has for decades been the leading force for developing the talent pipeline for America’s trucking industry,” said Andrew Parker, executive director for Be Pro Be Proud. “The introduction of TMCSuperTech is the next evolution of their incredible work. This mobile app places them again on the forefront of helping students imagine themselves as part of the next generation of diesel techs.”
The goal of the game is to increase the visibility of maintenance technician career options and show the industry’s appeal to young students, the release shows. In the app, players can learn to diagnose and repair tractor-trailers throughout a series of three mini-games focused on tire, wheel, brakes and engine repair. Game players can progress through 15 levels of play starting as a student technician and eventually becoming the owner of a repair shop. They are rewarded by being paid within the app and can purchase paint jobs for their fleet of trucks and other performance improvements. Links within the game direct students to TMC where they can learn about career and scholarship opportunities for becoming a commercial vehicle technician.