Gameheads: Reverse Gentrification in The Gaming Industry


OAKLAND, Calif (Ivanhoe Newswire) — It’s been called tech’s pipeline problem. According to Pew Research, black and brown workers make up just 17 percent of the industry. Part of the problem is due to the inequities in opportunities and education, which results in a less diversified candidate pool. Now a non-profit is figuring out a way to close the tech talent gap. Gameheads

High school senior, Ace Roman is preparing to take her turn on gaming’s center stage. Thanks to the Oakland based non-profit, Gameheads, she and 282 other students are helping to re-shape what the video game industry looks like.

Ace says, “I would for sure call it a gamechanger. It just, like, took my skills to, like, a whole new level.”

Program Manager Randi Dean says, “Gameheads is a technical nonprofit that specializes and focuses on the black, brown, and low-income youth. We call it a reverse gentrification.”

“I think that’s a massive thing …” says Chiedozie Ibe, Student, Gameheads

Students ages 15 to 25 years old begin by learning everything from sound design to animation, and VR by experts in the industry.

Randy says,“Then you have four years of project-based experience.”

During that time, students create their own video games reflecting their interests.

Chiedozie Ibe says, “Not only are they teaching us, but they’re also putting us in the spaces where you can get into the industry. I’ve recently visited Sony, met with a lot of the people in the sound design department.”

Paul Rybicki, Board Member and UX/UI Instructor at Gameheads says, “It’s amazing to see young people’s world view grow.”

Randi says, “I think that the coolest thing that we’ve done this year, is our students were able to work on spider-man two.”

Paul says, “This is an amazing resource for young people.”

Ace explains, “This has helped me a lot, like, knowing exactly where I want to go and what I want to do.”

In an industry where starting salaries can begin at 80 thousand dollars a year.

X-box recently announced it has partnered with Gameheads to showcase their black students’ video games. In addition, Gameheads will be expanding its locations to include both Hawaii and Atlanta.

Contributors to this news report include: Jennifer Winter, Producer; Bob Walko, Editor, Joseph Alexander-Short, Videographer

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