On February 23rd Capitol Underground, Inclusion, Innovation, Incubator(In3), and Coplay Media partnered with the Montgomery County-based Non-profit B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S. (Brothers Reaching Out to Help Each Reach Success) program, an initiative dedicated to mentoring at-risk minority boys to graduate from high school and to pursue university-level education; to host a competitive gaming tournament to bring awareness on the opportunities for minorities in STEM and esports. Our goal is to educate minority youth to the possibilities available to them in gaming and esports and to inspire them to seek out opportunities to follow their passion for the industry into profitable, fulfilling careers in STEM
Minorities make up a small percentage of individuals both in STEM and in various sectors of the gaming industry, this disproportionately effects the representation minorities have in these industries which in turn may make these industries less appealing, The International Game Developers Association’s recent research states that only three percent of game developers are African-American, though seventy-six percent are Caucasian. This disparity is slowly improving; however, obstacles like financial barriers, absence of training, and inability to access opportunities severely restrict ethnic minorities from entering the industry.
By targeting minority students that vary from freshmen to seniors in the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S program, we are presented with the unique opportunity to present these opportunities while they are still searching and contemplating what studies and occupations they want to pursue.
Our guest speaker Aaron Saunders, who is the founder of the Inclusion, Innovation, Incubator(In3) as well as the technology company Clearly Innovative, spoke in detail about how to get into the technology space and the future of the industry. With our society going deeper and deeper into the digital age, individuals with a technology background will continue to be in high demand.
We also had Trevor Williams the founder of Capitol Underground Gaming League, share about the growing opportunities in esports. From game developers and professional players to event organizers and content creators the gaming sector is growing at an exponential rate. With esports expected to cross $1 Billion dollars by next year gaming is a viable career opportunity for many who love games and would love to work with them in some capacity.
Many of the students shared that this was the only time they had been exposed to the information on the opportunities in the STEM and esports industries. They were surprised to hear that they can play video games for a living or even create some of their favorite games.
By hosting interactive gaming events we hope to help young minorities turn their passion for video games into lucrative careers that inspire them to create and innovate whether its in STEM or esports.