Learn more about JFF
Learn more about JFF
AR for Community Colleges

About / Why AR for Community Colleges

In launching AR programming, community colleges respond to the growing demand for XR skills in the workforce and become training hubs for a new population of learners.

What is AR?

Augmented reality (AR) overlays computer-generated imagery onto a user’s view of the real world. It is not to be confused with virtual reality (VR), which is a completely simulated immersive experience. Like VR, though, AR’s broad applicability to a wide range of career paths and use cases in industries including education, health care, marketing, graphic design, manufacturing, and construction imbues AR training with the potential to prepare individuals for quality jobs now and in the future, at scale.

"With evolving technology and advancements in AR, the technology may cross many disciplines and be used in more than just one specific area."
Learner, Isothermal Community College
Students Smiling
Education Community

Why AR at Community Colleges

Community colleges, often serving as economic engines for their regions, are ideal hubs to cultivate AR training for local communities. AR has the potential to be a critical skill for learners to secure quality jobs of the future, and community colleges can play a vital role in democratizing the training for learners who have been historically underrepresented in emerging technology training. Community colleges can also leverage relationships with local employers to ensure that AR offerings continue to evolve to meet current job demands. And compared to other XR offerings, AR training has relatively low entry barriers for community collegeslearners can use AR on their phone, whereas VR requires a headset. Additionally, AR training, though very new to most learners, has some similarities to existing graphic design, coding, and 3-D modeling training platforms, which could make it easier to find instructors with relevant experience. 

"AR connects to my career goals in multiple ways. I want to diversify my skills in tech in a way that will help me be an ongoing asset in the future and I want to offer a unique set of skills to my employer."
Learner, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College
Partnership Handshakes

JFF’s Pilot Project

In 2023, JFF partnered with eight community colleges in diverse regions across the United States. Each partner implemented an 8-to-12-week non-credit program using the Meta Spark AR training platform and associated “AR in a Box” instructor material, with a “flipped” classroom structure—both in-person and online, asynchronous learning—concluding in a closing event to showcase learners’ final AR projects.

Partner colleges:
  • Isothermal Community College (Spindale, North Carolina)
  • Mott Community College (Flint, Michigan)
  • Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College (Cumberland, Kentucky)
  • Kingsborough Community College (Brooklyn, New York)
  • Cañada College (Redwood City, California)
  • A collaborative of three Colorado community colleges: Red Rocks Community College (Lakewood), Pikes Peak State (Colorado Springs), and Community College of Aurora

More about JFFLabs



JFFLabs Insights

About JFFLabs Insights 

JFFLabs Insights helps decision makers to understand and prepare for the emerging trends shaping the future of work and learning. Our rapid insights process and our transformative research agenda focus on core areas impacting the future of work and learning and help our partners stay at the head of the field. 
For more information about JFFLabs Insights, visit https://www.jff.org/work/jff-labs/jfflabs-insights/.



XR Shaping the Future of Workforce Development

Jobs for the Future (JFF) and Meta work together as partners to better understand and showcase the potential of XR technologies to transform learning and work. Together, we will demonstrate that XR solutions can catalyze economic advancement, especially for people from populations facing systemic barriers that affect their access to leading-edge technologies.  

For more information about JFF’s partnership with Meta, visit www.jff.org/xr.

Contributors and Authors

Alex Swartsel  
Managing director, Insights, JFFLabs, Center for Artificial Intelligence & the Future of Work

Jennifer Giffels 
Director, Solutions Design & Delivery, JFF

Lucy Fernandez   
Manager, Solutions Design & Delivery, JFF 

Matthew Longo 
Senior manager, Solutions Design & Delivery, JFF  


Cydni Burton 
Manager, Solutions Design & Delivery, JFF 

Tyler Nakatsu  
Director, Communications, JFF  

Carlin Praytor 
Project manager, Communications, JFF