(Part 1) E-Sports and the video gaming industry at large are growing at a rapid pace, with no signs of a slowdown ahead. In fact, each branch of the military has constructed their own competitive E-Sports teams for visibility, outreach, and recruiting purposes.
Believe it or not, there are abundant opportunities in the video game ecosystem -- we are delighted to chat with Abbey Diedrich of New Horizons WI about their revolutionary programs to channel veterans into lucrative careers in E-sports and gaming.
Connect with Abbey here.
Learn more about New Horizons' Esports programs.
Questions? Comments? Continue the discussion by requesting access to our exclusive WVF Facebook Group.
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Intro & Outro Themes:
Barry Dallas - I’m Gone (https://uppbeat.io/t/barry-dallas/im-gone)
Noise Cake - Light It Up (https://uppbeat.io/t/noise-cake/light-it-up)
Today on Wisconsin veterans forward. Hey, we're back. I've missed all of you so, so much. Uh, I hope you've missed me. You know what? I don't hope you missed . I hope you have been enjoying your life. Uh , and all of your endeavors have been fruitful over the last few weeks and you haven't been pining after your weekly office hours fix , uh, my name's Adam I'm with the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce. In case you showed up here by accident or you lost or something pulled up a chairs stick around , uh, we're happy to see you. Look, we've been off for a few weeks. The end of the school year, everybody knows is just a crazy time of year. Uh , we've had a lot going on as an organization , uh, but you know what, we're back and we're ready to just , uh, just knock it out of the park here. And today's gonna be a doozy. We're very excited to chat , uh , about this. Uh , we're gonna talk about e-sports yep . Video gaming, competitive video games and the ecosystem , uh, that surrounds it and supports it. And , uh , the opportunities that arise from the growth of this ecosystem , um, for those of you that think that we're crazy here. Um, the video game industry has exploded. It's continuing to explode. Uh, there are more opportunities than ever. It's still a very competitive field to, to get into , uh, whether you're developing games, you're working in the back office , uh , or you're , you're actually performing think of it a lot. Like any other sports organization, you know, like the , like an NFL team, it's not just the players, right? But you have the coaches, you have the, the , the , the , the travel managers, you have the Phila , philanthropic managers, you have the money folks, the , the hiring, the contracts, like the scouting. There's just, there's so much that goes into it. And this is very, there's a lot of parallels here. And , and like I said, eSports in particular is growing and it's competitive. Not just anybody can that , you know , if you're good at call a duty, it's not like, well, just join an eSports team. Sorry, it's really hard. That's like saying, like, I can catch a football. I'm gonna go be on the Packers, give me a break. It's very competitive. And a lot, like much like an NFL team or an NBA team, or an NHL team, major league baseball, those jobs that support those things. Cause people are passionate about sport and competition. Those jobs are competitive. They are fought over, but there's still a lot of opportunities there. And guess what? There are programs and movements to help transition veterans. There are many people that believe that your average veteran, your average GI Jane and Joe , uh , actually are well suited to working in sporting, whether it be NFL, traditional sports or e-sports video games and all of the stuff around it . There are a lot of people who believe strongly. And I agree with them that many veterans are well suited to that, to the pressures of those environments, to the high , uh , to the stringent demands of that industry. And there are programs right here in Wisconsin that seek to educate and help veterans and military family members transition into careers, not just in tech cuz it's tech month, right? Not just in tech, but specifically in the eSports and video gaming industry. How cool is that? It's amazing to think that something that you might be passionate about or you were passionate about as a kid, there are like, there are opportunities out there for you. You can make a career out of something that drives you or drove you or influenced you. Anybody that played video games a lot as a kid, I played a lot of video games as a kid. I have like fond, nostalgic memories. None of the games that I played would be like in an eSports, anything just cuz uh , they were all like RPGs, like final fantasy , like the , the first cartridge final fantasies on Nintendo and super Nintendo and stuff kind of slow. But like 90% of my childhood reading came from that. If somebody said, I want you to work for square Enix you know, so you can develop final fantasy games. I'd be like, sign me up where anyways, I'm rambling now because I'm excited about this. Abby Dietrich is here. She's a good friend of the chambers. She's with new horizons, which is a great organization. She's gonna tell you about, they work on educating people in closing gaps and knowledge for tech youth through adult. And they're working on tech employment pipeline programs for veterans that's flipping outstanding. So we're gonna get into it right after this brief, but nonetheless, very loud bumper video. You are listening to Wisconsin veterans forward. Wisconsin's premier audio resource for veterans, military families, veteran owned and veteran friendly businesses. Wisconsin veterans forward is brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of email@example.com . Happy to introduce Abby Dietrich from new horizons in Wisconsin. How are you ?Speaker 2:
I'm great, Adam. Thank you. How are you?Speaker 1:
I'm fantastic. And you know what? I'm really excited about Mo more than anything you and I both have rather developed Scotty accentsSpeaker 2:
<laugh> that we do , uh , yep . That we do.Speaker 1:
This is gonna be, this is gonna be a regular Hooten nanny . I'm ready for this. I did you get comments about your accent all the time? I get all the time. YesSpeaker 2:
I uh , yep . I I'm nasally and I am true WisconsiniteSpeaker 1:
Embrace it. I think it's fantastic.Speaker 2:
You. Uh , so Abby , tell us about new horizons. What is it and what do you do with them?Speaker 2:
Sure. So , um, I have been in , um, with new horizons since 2014. Um, I am the director of our career development division. And so we primarily help individuals who are considered career starters, career changers or career enhancers , um, go through not only it programs , um, but also, you know, process improvement, human resources, project management, those types of things. So primary goal is just to help individuals get back up on their feet or advance further in their careers.Speaker 1:
Right on. And , and , and so I did mention earlier and I hope I got this right. Uh, but your programs are these tech development programs and education programs that go from adults, whether they're they're new career seekers out of college they're career, transitioners all the way down to you have some youth programs coming up too, right?Speaker 2:
Yeah. We're really excited. Um, primarily our audience that we have served , um, has been the adult , uh , audience. And recently we're starting to help , um, 8, 9, 10 plus year olds , um, get into the tech industry and it's really all around this whole eSports space. So we're, I'm really excited to share , um, what we're doing with not only the youth population, but the adult population as well.Speaker 1:
And so, you know, career transitioners being a huge part of this, any veteran or anybody in the military or military advocacy or veteran advocacy ecosystem knows that military transition is like the buzzword and no one has cracked the code. I mean, everybody, it , it seems like everybody's working on it, but we're still trying to find the magic formula for this. Uh, so why eSports, why specifically veterans and careers in, in the eSports ecosystem?Speaker 2:
Sure. So , um, I actually was introduced to Brandon Chaker , um, who is the co-founder of the Milwaukee eSports Alliance about two years ago. Um, and I'm gonna be fully transparent. eSports was a foreign language to me. Um, I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that, you know, people were getting paid big dollars to play video games. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so I, you know, full, full honesty. I learned a lot along the way. Um, thanks to Brandon who has educated me, but we, you know, we were putting our brains together as eSports is in its infancy right now, but is continuing to grow. And , um, we were trying to figure out the best way that we could take individuals who are interested in tech and gaming , um, as, you know, a hobby and something that they like to do and how we can apply that to the workforce. Um, so, you know, multiple jobs out there in relation to tech and eSports. So we created a workforce program that educates individuals, veterans, you know, kids about hardware and software of information technology, and then hardware and software of eSports. So our programs are, you know , uh , like I said, workforce development focused. Um, our goal is to get individuals jobs in those areas. Um, or maybe they become entrepreneurs , um, maybe they design their own video games or, you know, are a Q and a for , um, different organizations as contractors or anything along those lines. So it's been really exciting. Um, we actually had 'em on green, former packer player , um, attend our program in March. He's the , uh, eSports head coach at Lakeland. Um, so we're just getting started really ? Yes. Yeah . SoSpeaker 1:
I walked by that guy once he's like, you don't appreciate seeing on TV, just how incredibly powerful NFL players are. Yeah. I remember seeing him with his pads on , I was right next to him. It was like standing next to a Cly tale .Speaker 2:
I mean , incredibly like super human Demi, God sort of like, if anyone that's been next to that guy knows that man, he was a beast. He was fun to watch too. Sorry, I digressed. No,Speaker 2:
No. And he's just as , uh , nice as he is . Clyde's delish, soSpeaker 1:
<laugh> yes . Right on . ButSpeaker 2:
Yeah , it's been cool .Speaker 1:
So are these, are these opportunities really in Wisconsin? I mean, cuz 10 years ago this was like a Silicon valley or Tokyo exclusive, you know, right outside of that. Or , or maybe a few places in Europe were starting to , you know, the , the whole, what is it the PA L system of , uh , you know, like outside of that, are there opportunities here?Speaker 2:
Yeah. Um, so it's, it's interesting. Um, you know, for, for once I feel like we're kinda ahead of the game , um, you know, we are a sister company of over 300 other new horizons. Um, we're locally owned and operated in Wisconsin, but we have over 300 other , uh , locations. And I have had more than probably 10 other new horizons organizations, specifically SoCal has been all over me about it. Like what are you doing with eSports? Like how , what , um, so it's, you know, it's taking something that again, people are passionate about and putting it into the workforce and experience gaming, which is part of manpower group , um, actually has , um, I believe well over 50 , uh, quality assurance testing , um, jobs in their gaming division. So, you know, mm-hmm , <affirmative> um , specifically, you know, experience Foley and Larner has reached out to me. Verizon has reached out to me. Verizon has actually , um, sponsoring some of the PF U MPS youth students that we have for a summer camp. Um, MPS foundations is sponsoring youth that we have for a summer camp. Um, so it's hot and people are jumping on the bandwagon to help people who are interested in the , um , eSports industry.Speaker 1:
And this isn't really far removed for people who aren't really familiar with eSports, correct. Uh , every single branch of our armed forces has developed their own eSports team similar to, you know, air force has a football team at the academy. They have, you know, they have all sorts of means by which to showcase the talent of their organization and to, to for outreach, for public relations and for recruiting to showcase the talent and the excellence in their programs to encourage people to enlist and to show the good that they're doing in the community. It is an important part of what our military does to continue to garner support from our community, which is really important. Uh , and eSports is no exception. I mean the , the military is notoriously late to the party on just about stinking, everything. And every branch has an eSports team. Maybe not space force . I don't know if space force does. They , they either have one or it's in development and they're good too. And they, they , some of them got in trouble cuz they were crossing the line between gaming and recruiting <laugh> um , <laugh> which that's the military for you? The recruiters are absolutely ravenous. Uh, but aside from that, it should be some writing on the wall for all of you who are still doubtful , uh, that this is a legit thing. If the military is putting eSports teams together, you might wanna actually consider this a real thing. Am I, am I interpreting that correctly?Speaker 2:
100%, absolutelySpeaker 1:
Good stuff. We're gonna continue this the second and final part of our dialogue with our friend, Abby , from new horizons, Wisconsin training people in e-sports and the future of tech and gaming, all that fun stuff. We'll see over there. Thank you for listening to Wisconsin veterans forward brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce. Please visit firstname.lastname@example.org . Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast, leave a rating and review in whatever platform you're listening through.