WTIA Workforce Institute (Apprenti) was recently awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce…
Today’s video gamers demand immersive, interactive experiences. Although 3D technology has evolved to meet that demand, the gaming industry faces an endemic talent shortage of developers and programmers to bring those experiences to life. As such, employers’ desire for candidates with Unreal Engine (the gaming engine developed by Epic Games that powers many 3D video games) and real-time technology skills is exploding, outpacing average IT technology skills by 50% and growing 10% faster than the overall job market worldwide. To meet this unprecedented demand for new talent, gaming studios and companies will need to reimagine the hiring process to build a more diverse and competitive workforce.
To that end, Apprenti has partnered with Epic Games, an interactive entertainment company and provider of 3D engine technology, to introduce new Unreal Engine-based apprenticeships that will extend the many opportunities of real-time technology and create new pathways to success for both gaming studios and the talent they hire. Epic Games will jumpstart the program by matching a $100k grant from the Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships. The gaming studio will also provide access to its Unreal Authorized Training Centers, providing support and world-class training through CG Spectrum to deliver support and world-class training to help meet the overwhelming requirement for Unreal Engine skills, like 3D graphics and real-time 3D, in the workforce. Apprenti has also received a grant from the Schultz Family Foundation to cover training costs for a young adult and the majority BIPOC pilot cohort, up to 150 people, that will launch Apprenti’s work in the gaming space.
The apprenticeship program and the skills apprentices will gain are broadly applicable beyond the gaming industry. To that end, Apprenti will also seek additional investments to rapidly accelerate a nationally registered gaming apprenticeship program specific to fill much-needed roles across a multitude of industries, including gaming, automotive, and architecture, assisting a diverse range of sectors on their mission to close the talent gap.
“The content created by the gaming industry needs to include the viewpoints of its consumers. It’s imperative that game developers reflect the diversity of end-users,” said Jennifer Carlson, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Apprenti. “Beyond this, an apprenticeship based on Unreal Engine skills will provide a pathway to careers not just in gaming but in broad industries such as film, television, advertising, and manufacturing. We are proud to partner with Epic Games and help underrepresented individuals explore lucrative careers in interactive media.”
“As the demand for real-time skills continues to grow, apprenticeship programs not only offer an effective solution to the tech talent gap, they also have the potential to enrich the lives of people and communities, connecting them with invaluable resources and opportunities,“ said Julie Lottering, Director of Unreal Engine Education, Epic Games.” At Epic, we’re working alongside Apprenti to deliver Unreal Engine apprenticeship programs for games, media and entertainment, and beyond. This partnership is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential industry-transcending impact and we couldn’t be more excited for the future.”
Industry training and mentorship will be provided by CG Spectrum. “We are excited to collaborate with Epic and Apprenti on this initiative. This co-investment will allow us to work closely with Epic’s customers and industry leaders to train and inspire creators while leveraging the Apprenti model to increase access to expert-led development and coaching across these industries,” noted Jeremy Chinn, Global Chief Operating Officer, CG Spectrum.
Operating nationally, Apprenti has placed apprentices at the largest companies in the United States, including Amazon, PayPal, Wayfair, Liberty Mutual, and JPMorgan Chase, among many others. Among apprentices, 85% are from underrepresented groups. This figure points to Apprenti’s impressive success in providing a pathway to tech careers for apprentices from non-traditional backgrounds.
To learn more about Apprenti, visit https://apprenticareers.org/.
For employers interested in becoming hiring partners, go to https://apprenticareers.org/hire/.
To learn more about apprenticeship opportunities or to apply for the program, check out https://apprenticareers.org/apply/.