Indianapolis – Indianapolis woman-owned and woman-led immersive tech company iXplore is using virtual reality (VR) headsets and its proprietary technology to help Shortridge High School students explore and immerse themselves in a range of career options during a unique career fair today. The company sponsored a 4,000 square foot “Xplore Zone” as part of the 2nd Annual Shortridge High School Future Fair.

Indianapolis Public Schools’ Future Centers create a hub for students and families to meet with community-based organizations, higher education partners, military recruiters and employers. Future Center staff has identified mission-aligned partners to drive year-round programming opportunities for students to advance post-secondary plans.

The High School Future Centers are designed to help students take the steps needed to successfully transition to Enrollment, Enlistment or Employment upon graduation. Students can avail themselves of valuable support services in the areas of college and career-readiness skill building, mentoring, technical assistance and more.

“When we conceived the Future Fair in 2023, I knew it needed to be a career exposure fair, not a traditional job fair,” says Shortridge Future Center Community Outreach Associate Maxine Butler about her motivation to start the event at Shortridge. “We wanted a way to have all our students in grades 9-12 be able to see, touch, feel, experience, and become knowledgeable about different opportunities available in our community, both during and beyond high school. Students cannot distinguish, discern, or identify career pathways if there is no exposure.”

The Xplore Zone was designed by iXplore CEO and Co-Founder Heather Jackson and her team for students to do just that through a variety of interactive and VR career discovery experiences. The combination of virtual reality and real-world engagement helps them see what they can be and then enables them to take those next steps in their career journeys. Students also engaged with professional online Talent Navigators testing iXplore’s new Nav-iX module, offered in collaboration with Field of Talent.

“Everyone wins!” says David Anderson, Founder and CEO of Field of Talent. “That’s why we’re so excited to be working with Heather and iXplore, because we know firsthand from our many years of recruiting work just how much this is needed by everyone from students and young adults to higher ed and employers. It takes all of us stepping boldly forward to find a better way to fill the talent pipeline with skilled, informed workers, today and well into the future.”

iXplore was joined by representatives from several of their Career Xploration clients, including the National Elevator Industry Education Program, Republic Airways, and Erskine Green Training Institute. Indiana-based Experience Design Consultancy GravityDrive featured careers in User Experience (UX) – an important part of iXplore’s experience development process. iXplore partner The Sapphire Theatre Company had teaching artists on hand to engage with students before and after the VR headset experience.

Also sponsoring the Xplore zone is automated headshot company popcam. Their Pro Headshot Lounge gave students an easy, fun opportunity to get a high-quality headshot for professional use via popcam’s innovative cloud platform, which automatically uploads, polishes, crops, and delivers the finished shots within minutes.

“My goal with bringing all these incredible clients, partners, and sponsors together was to help the team at Shortridge take ‘future’ to a whole new level for their students this year,” says Jackson. “Our high-tech, high-touch approach to career exploration is designed thoughtfully and intentionally, so students and young adults have an exciting and engaging way to discover the backpack of opportunities that await them in the workforce. This is more than just a billboard – we’re ensuring our next generations also understand and are empowered to take next steps in their career journeys.”

Nearly 700 students participated in the Future Fair.

iXplore™ is a woman-owned, woman-led interactives company, headquartered in Indiana and celebrating more than 17 years in business. From blue chip to blue collar, iXplore™ has helped hundreds of organizations across the U.S. launch better immersive experiences through the power of VR, AR, touch interactive, on-premises, and web-based experiences. You can learn more by visiting our website or following us on Facebook, LinkedIn, X and Instagram.