Diversity & Inclusion
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Futures First Gaming is launching a 12-month workforce development program

The startup's new initiative has a goal of increasing the number of underrepresented professionals in the esports industry.

Esports is a growing international industry. (Photo by Prachatai with Creative Commons license)

Futures First Gaming (FFG) has been working to make esports a major industry in Delaware since it launched in spring 2020. The startup aims to do that not just with its tournaments, esports athlete development, and a mission to empower Black and brown youth, but with workforce development programs that can lead to real jobs in various parts of the gaming industry.

“The disparities in the Black and brown community are vast when it comes to technology — less than 9% of Black and brown people pursue tech as a profession and less than 2% are professional gamers,” said Malcolm Coley, FFG’s technology officer, in a statement.

With the Futures First Workforce Development Program, FFG aims to change that: The STEM.org-accredited esports and education company is now an official Workforce Development Provider in the state of Delaware, thanks to a partnership with the Delaware State Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS).

This summer, it will launch its first cohort of 30 high school students, who will spend one year learning critical technical skills associated with the esports industry, as well as the modern job market at large.

The first six months of the program will be spent working with experts in the fields of programming, business, marketing, event production and game design. Over the second half, participants will work a paid internship assignment with either FFG or a designated partner.

“Since we began this work a little more than a year ago, our goal has been to increase the number of students, especially youth of color, pursuing career opportunities in STEM fields,” said CEO Stephen Sye. “DHSS understood our vision from the beginning and recognized the power that gaming has to attract today’s youth while providing critical technology and business skills that will lead to life changing outcomes.

“We are turning passions for gaming into rewarding careers, and are truly thankful for the opportunity to make an impact and build a new industry and workforce for Delaware,” he said. “Futures First Gaming is the institution that provides the pathways for our Black and brown youth to unlock their true potential in order to change their fortunes and change the world.”

Interested participants may apply at futuresfirstgaming.com/workforce; the site will soon have more information for businesses interested in becoming a designated internship partner.

Companies: Futures First Gaming / State of Delaware

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