On April 11, Futures First Gaming (FFG) and WilmU announced the signing of an academic partnership agreement that is the first step toward developing degree and certificate pathways for students in the esports and gaming communities with the goal of providing them with STEM-based credentials for success in the booming industry.
Stephen Sye, CEO of Futures First Gaming, is excited to partner with Wilmington University. “One of the most crucial priorities we identified from the outset of our company’s launch was the need for educational credentials in our programming,” he says. “We accomplished this by identifying a university partner who shared our vision to provide innovative STEM education to today’s youth, and also shares our commitment to providing equitable opportunities to underrepresented groups and the industry’s growth in this region.”
“Wilmington University is thrilled to partner with Futures First Gaming,” says Lindsay Rice, senior director of Academic Partnerships at Wilmington University. “Our gaming instructors are immersed in the industry, and WilmU’s Game Design and Development program was the first undergraduate degree of its kind in Delaware. We’re committed to expanding opportunities for more high school students to connect, learn, earn credit for what they’ve learned, then explore all opportunities in the rapidly growing esports and gaming industries.”
FFG has a Workforce Development program, sponsored by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, that aligns with the new academic partnership agreement with Wilmington University. The second cohort of Workforce Development students will now have access to WilmU’s staff of expert instructors, established curriculum, development techniques, and program content for college credit. They can garner valuable STEM skills and knowledge in programming, IT, cybersecurity, gain esports-specific business expertise, and graduate with information provided by industry professionals who are also seasoned university instructors.
“The agreement between WilmU and FFG leverages the capabilities of both to ensure there’s academic rigor that benefits students with and without esports and game design credentials,” says Scott Shaw, assistant professor and academic chair of WilmU’s Game Design program. “There’s so much more to it beyond programming and game design, and this agreement provides pathways to educational credit for skill-building along with opportunities to gain a wider perspective of the industry.”
“Futures First Gaming facilitates pathways for youth who have an interest in esports and STEM to realize their true potential in order to change their fortunes and change the world,” Sye says. “Our partnership with Wilmington University delivers on our promise to develop the pipeline from K-12 to university and careers in esports and related industries. Through innovative partnerships like this, our brand tagline, ‘Futures First Starts with Gaming,’ is realized.”
With this partnership, Delaware residents can expect to see more of FFG’s signature esports events and educational programming hosted at WilmU’s facilities across the state. To learn more about Wilmington University and its gaming programs, visit www.wilmu.edu/game-design-development.