Insights from the Inaugural Next Gen Workforce Summit: Co-designing the Metaverse for Skills with Community Partners

Irvine, California, December 22, 2023: The inaugural Next Gen Workforce Summit in Irvine, California was a great success. Themed “Co-designing the Metaverse for Skills with Community Partners,” the event brought together leaders from the workforce, academia, and technology to solve for both supply and demand side challenges with a focus on transparency, equity, and access.

SimInsights team members at UCI Beall Applied Innovation in Irvine, California.


RAJESH JHA, CEO, SimInsights Inc.

Welcome Inaugural Next Gen Workforce Summit

Rajesh Jha is the Founder/CEO of SimInsights Inc, a California company focused on applying AI and AR/VR technologies to enable everyone to author, publish and evaluate immersive, intelligent and interactive digital twins to train, guide and monitor, for 10-100X improved agility, cost and risk. Prior to SimInsights, Rajesh was Program Manager at Altair for 3D software for simulation and optimization.

Dr Angelo Farooq

DR ANGELO FAROOQ, Entrepreneur, Workforce Leader & School Board Member

How The Workforce System Works with Employers and Job Seekers

Dr. Angelo Farooq, Chairman of the California Workforce Development Board, set the tone with a keynote address exploring the current state of the workforce system. He emphasized the need for collaboration between employers, educators, and technology providers to build a more responsive and equitable system that meets the skills needs of a rapidly evolving economy.

LISA MASCIANTONIO, Chief Workforce Officer, ARM (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing)

Scaling New Workforce Solutions for the U.S. Industrial Base

Lisa Masciantionio, Chief Workforce Officer at ARM, highlighted the increasing demand for upskilling and reskilling programs in the face of automation, particularly in robotics-driven manufacturing.

ANNA LISA LUKES, Co-Founder/CEO, The Lukes Network

Reflections on Workforce Development and the Role of Technology

Anna Lisa Lukes, Co-Founder/CEO of The Lukes Network, championed the role of diversity and inclusion in workforce development, advocating for equal access to opportunities for underserved communities.

DR TARA LAUGHLIN, PhD, Senior Education Designer, Digital Transformation at Education Design Lab

How can XR and AI support 21st Century Skills Validation?

Dr. Tara Laughlin has dedicated herself to assisting both youth and adults in cultivating the essential skills required for the future of work while striving for educational equity. With over 15 years of experience in K-12, post-secondary, and adult education, she now serves as a Senior Education Designer at Education Design Lab, spearheading the design and execution of personalized, competency-based solutions.

UWE SCHRAMM, PhD, Technology Leader, Innovation Consultant

Digital Twins: From Products to Everything in 30 years

An advisor and coach to CEOs, CTOs, and senior executives, Uwe Schramm has been recognized for visionary leadership in applying computational science and engineering to digital transformation and designing sustainable products while assisting organizations in innovating with simulation, AI, and high-performance computing.

GRANT KIRBY, Workforce Development Manager, Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center R&D

Virtually Enhanced Journeys into Advanced Manufacturing

Grant Kirby serves, Workforce Development Manager at the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center, shared his success story in integrating VR with problem-solving approaches, effectively reaching underrepresented populations in rural areas.

G.P. LI, Director, Calit2 Irvine division

Smart Connected Workforce powered by AI and Digital Twin

G.P. Li, Director of Calit2 Irvine division, envisions “digital twins” – virtual replicas of real-world environments – enabling immersive training simulations and performance monitoring.

Chris Johnson

CHRIS JOHNSON, Lead Application Engineer, SimInsights Inc.

Leveraging XR and AI Technologies for Workforce

Chris Johnson, Application Expert at SimInsights Inc. talked about the applications of AR/VR and AI technologies in their products and services. He also discussed the different customers they are serving across various industries.

ROHIT KUMAR, PhD, Chief Scientist at MajorBoost

Preparing The Workforce For The Age of Copilots

Rohit Kumar, Chief Scientist at MajorBoost, injected a futuristic perspective, discussing the rise of “co-pilot” jobs where humans and AI work together. He emphasized the need to prepare the workforce for a future where collaboration with intelligent machines will be critical.

You can watch the full video here, learn more about the summit on the event website here, and see photos here.

We are looking forward to next year’s event in the fourth quarter of 2024.