US-based non-profit esports body Cxmmunity have joined forces with US esports organisation Version1 to launch a scholarship and mentorship programme for Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students.
The programmes, which are operated by Cxmmunity, aim to open the door for HBCU students to gain experience within the esports industry through scholarship, mentorship and internship opportunities, according to a release.
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Cxmmunity will lead the launch of a mentorship programme with Version1 to connect staff across all departments with minority youth and HBCU students to guide their professional development.
The non-profit will also leverage its network of partners currently engaged in minority and HBCU gaming initiatives to amplify the programme.
Version1 will commit $25,000 (~£18,100) to establish a scholarship programme for minorities in gaming and esports. The scheme will award four $5,000 (~£3600) scholarships to college freshmen and sophomores attending HBCU institutions during the 2021-2022 academic year.
Applicants pursuing a wide range of majors — including sales & marketing, operations, content creation, IT, and design — are encouraged to apply. As part of the process, candidates must illustrate their passion for gaming and explain how their pursuit of a college degree would support a career in gaming or esports.
The partnership between the two entities is “an attempt to provide more access and opportunity for minority students within the gaming industry,” according to the release.
Ryan Johnson, Founder and Executive Director of Cxmmunity, commented: “When we first started our discussions with Version1, we knew immediately that we were going to build something special together. We are all dedicated to executing a robust program that will be meaningful, memorable and sustainable for these students.”
Version1 is additionally awarding a $5,000 scholarship as a prize pool for a Call of Duty tournament open to student-atheletes and teams competing in Cxmmunity’s HBCU Esports League during the 2021-2022 academic year.
The esports organisation is actively recruiting interns and entry-level roles. As part of the partnership, Cxmmunity will share Version1’s job opportunities with its network of HBCU students.
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Brett Diamond, CEO of Version1, commented: “Cxmmunity is doing incredible work in support of HBCU Esports and empowering underrepresented students, and we are honored to build these programs together.
“In developing our part of the partnership, we are thinking through the lens of the tangible skills and experience we look for in entry level job candidates, and focusing on giving students real world experience to develop those skills as well as mentorship that will help them to stand out in the future.
“Ryan Johnson and Cxmmunity have shown to be leaders in moving the dial on inclusivity in gaming, and these programs are continued progress in building an industry that is accessible to, and safe for, all.”
Students can apply for the scheme at version1.gg/cxmmunity until 30th September, 2021, with successful candidates selected in October.
Esports Insider says: Version1 are making a healthy commitment to minority inclusion with an extensive program offering valuable real-world experience and opportunities to HBCU students. Cxmmunity, meanwhile, continue to successfully deliver on their mission of increasing minority participation within the esports and video game industries.