(Part 2) 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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On behalf of our members, we serve as an advocate for Wisconsin’s veteran business community and promote economic opportunity for military veterans, military families, and veteran-friendly businesses.
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Intro & Outro Themes:
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Noise Cake - Light It Up (https://uppbeat.io/t/noise-cake/light-it-up)
Today on Wisconsin veterans forward the second and final part of our dialogue with our good friend, Abby Dietrich from new horizons, Wisconsin. They're an organization that trains people specifically, they train veterans and transitioning service members to upscale into careers in tech. And we're talking specifically about careers in eSports and video gaming. There's a lot that goes into it. It , it, isn't just like I get a job and playing call of duty. There's a lot of opportunities , uh , in , in the entire industry. And that's what we're talking about, but you probably already know that cuz you listen to part one. So , uh , I mean I might as well just yeah, let's do it. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org . The , the military is notoriously late to the party, unjust about stink in everything. And every branch has an e-sports 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% absolutely.Speaker 1:
Right on. So what, what opportunities are there? Is it like I get to play call of duty all day and get paid to do it? Probably not. Right?Speaker 2:
Correct. Nope . So , um, what our , our program is essentially designed to , um, tie in the Comilla a plus credential , um, which is an industry recognized it certification in addition to eSports hardware and software. So the it portion is covering hardware and software of desktops, PCs essentially like help desk support type of role. Um, and then the eSports portion coincides parallel to that where they're learning about, you know, the hardware and software of PCs, consoles, gaming systems. Um, and again, being able to work with , um, instructors one on one , um, in a virtual setting like this , um, and be able to learn and apply what they're taking to, you know, to the workforce. Um, majority , uh , 99% of our , uh , students who have taken any of our eSports workforce programs have been eligible and have been , uh , awarded funding through specific grants that are applicable or eligible to them in the state of Wisconsin. Um, so we've literally taken individuals with zero background in it. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um , and we've brought them from, you know, nothing or minimal knowledge of the space of eSports or it , um, and educated them to where they are getting careers and opportunities , um, in the workforce. So for those of you that, you know, may be out there who aren't sure of what's next, you know, for you. Um, it's definitely something to , to consider because , um , eSports is, is gonna continue to evolve , uh , and, and be in demand as well as information technology.Speaker 1:
So that , and that really clarifies something for me. So this is, this is not necessarily, I mean, cuz there are a lot of coding boot camps out there, but this isn't a coding full stack development boot camp . No . So this would be less on the game development end of things . And more on the , um, the platform facilitation end of things, right ? The fact that people are connecting remotely wirelessly via land, via whatever, and facilitating that competitive ES sporting environment because having good, reliable, quick connections and responses and being able to support that is probably a pretty integral part of, of eSports. Is it , am I understanding that correctly?Speaker 2:
Absolutely. Yep .Speaker 1:
So I would assume that the CompTIA and those certifications that accompany those things, if, if you don't necessarily, if you're not, they're not niche and specific enough that if you don't land a gig in eSports, you're out to lunch, there are a lot , there are , this is some highly sought after credentials and qualifications, is that correct?Speaker 2:
Correct. Yep . So there are , um, when you look at the it space , um, there's a lot of demand specifically and I'm just specifically gonna talk to Wisconsin. We are not the most tech savvy state. I love it. We all live here. We're passionate about it. Um, but like we are in demand for cyber security analysts, cloud analysts, some of those higher level tech positions and what a lot of companies will do is take that help desk, desktop support person and train them internally into those roles. Because externally we don't see a lot of, you know, in high level cyber security analysts in Wisconsin. Um , and if we do have them, they're already employed. So the help desk is constantly in demand. Like I am constantly having companies , um, reach out to me like, Hey, who do you have for help desk roles or, or entry level it roles. Um, and again, the eSports folks are good candidates, the entry level , it folks are good candidates. Um, and I always tell people, once you get your foot in the door, sky's the limit where you wanna go, right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> you go network security, project management , um, there's a ton of different avenues. You can go once you get a kickstart,Speaker 1:
How long is this program?Speaker 2:
Yeah , so typically the program is about four weeks. Um, so that'sSpeaker 1:
That's it? Yep . So , um, the we've changed , uh , we're very flexible. Our organization is so we have access to over 1100 instructors on a national level that we can bring to Wisconsin through this online live platform. Mm-hmm <affirmative> but then we also have a local Wisconsin instructor , um, who has been delivering , uh , the cohorts that we've had in January and March. So typically it's about four weeks. Um, some individuals may take a little bit extra time to sit those credential exams, but they will come out with an industry recognized credential after completing an exam and a digital badge. I'm sure a lot of you, if you're on LinkedIn , um, have seen those digital Credly badges. Um, so we have badging and credentials for those folks that complete the programs.Speaker 1:
So this is, this is a, the credentials and the certifications that somebody walks away with from this program are nationally recognized standard. People see that if they're in the know, they know that, you know what you're doing at least at a base level.Speaker 2:
Absolutely. Yep . So when I started in 2014 , um, it was kind of like if you don't have a degree, you're kind of Sol <laugh> when it comes to the employment piece mm-hmm <affirmative> and things are changing. Um, if you're on indeed or if you're on any of those , um, you know , uh , job boards, mm-hmm <affirmative> , it is the, you know, associate's degree bachelor's degree or a certification or equivalent certification. So certifications are definitely becoming more in demand and aware as individuals who are unemployed may or may not have two or four years to go back to school and may just look at getting a four week credential to then get their foot in the door.Speaker 1:
Absolutely . Well , let's talk about financing these things, cuz a lot of, you know, veterans, obviously you mentioned grants , um, uh , the first thing a veteran would ask is if they still have nine 11 , uh , post nine 11 GI bill eligibility, is that something that can be paid for through that? Or is it something that they'd hope to get through a grant program or talk me through that?Speaker 2:
Sure. So right now new horizons of Wisconsin , um, is in the process of getting approved through a couple of the different chapters to be able to help the veteran audience. Um , primarily if we have veterans coming through our programs right now, it is specifically grant funded through workforce innovation opportunity act , um, the workforce advancement initiative. Um, we actually have a connection with tech, for vets up in the Fox valley area where they're, you know, heavy on sponsoring some of our students. Um, there's a veteran retraining grant that we use. So the post nine 11 GI bill isn't specific to new horizons, Wisconsin, but we have other alternative options to be able to help veterans , um , and their families get into these programs without paying anything out of pocket.Speaker 1:
So you're saying it be , you know, obviously every person's circumstance is unique and individual, but you're saying it's not unheard of that. A veteran will be able to go through this program and walk away with the certification at no cost to them,Speaker 2:
Correct? Yep . If they're eligible and approved , um, and that's where our team comes in and helps coach them and connect them with our different partners. Um, there's a lot of, like I said, a lot of different grants out there specifically since the pandemic , um, governor Evers has a lot of different reskilling retraining initiatives in place . Mm-hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative> um , so we have a lot of those connections here in Wisconsin and we do, you know, we initially start out with career coaching , um, determining where somebody wants to go for their career and their end goal , um, work backwards with them on a program plan, connect them to workforce development, determine eligibility for funding. And then we go on our way to bring them through , um, the program to employmentSpeaker 1:
Right on that sounds like a fantastic program. Um, and I do have a , uh, do have a website here, career development solutions.com , um, back slash N HWI e-sports and that'll take you right to that program and you can sign up to get more information or chat with somebody just from there.Speaker 2:
I would encourage all of you to, to reach out to them. Uh , if you're even curious about transitioning , um, or interested in eSports or it peaks your interest , uh, because it , it you're , you're never too old for a career change. Uh, if you are post service , there's a good chance. Your first shot at a career after service is not gonna be your forever career. It's just, I mean, this , this , the data is against you. Uh, and so if you're in one of those positions and you're looking for a change, not only are these highly sought after skills, but they're lucrative. And if you can go through, instead of going back to school or getting a certification , like a , a longer tenured certification, if you can get something that will put money in your pocket and stability for you and your family, if you can get that situated in four weeks and not have to pay out of pocket for it, it sounds like a golden opportunity. Not only for you to transition if you're coming out of this service or if you're serving currently in a guard capacity, or if you've been out for a while , it , it , it , it just sounds like it makes sense. Uh , Abby , is there anything else that you'd like to share with us that we, that we didn't cover?Speaker 2:
You know, I think we, you know, we covered a lot , um, of good information. I am here as a resource. Honestly, if somebody has questions, if they're unsure of where they wanna go, it is a scary, scary industry. Nobody likes <laugh> , uh , when things don't work mm-hmm <affirmative> . Um , but I , you know, if there's anyone out there that just wants to chat, that's what my , uh , myself and my team do , um, to help guide you in the right direction, whether it's new horizons or whether it's a different path , um, we're just here to helpSpeaker 1:
Outstanding, well, Abby Dietrich from new horizons , uh , connect with her she's on LinkedIn. You can find her there and , uh , follow that link on the bottom. Abby, I'll ask you to just hang on the line for just a second. Absolutely. All right . Thank you so much . That was really cool . Every day we learn about new cool things that people have for veterans. I mean talk , uh , four week certification intensive, that gives you lucrative marketable skills, and it doesn't cause you anything outta pocket. If you are even thinking about making a career transition and network , uh, management, it stuff, eSports, if any of that interests you, oh, come on, you gotta check this out. You got , you have to check it out. And if you are looking to make a transition to anything, here's a , here's a good bit of advice. Friends. There are programs like this out there. You may not even know it's . It is shocking to me. How many people in Wisconsin don't know that Wisconsin has a state GI bill separate from the post nine 11 or the Montgomery Uhhuh . And you can use it on for , for all in-state schools and some other private schools for you and your dependence . A lot of people don't know that there are programs that are state sponsored. There are programs that are on the outside of it through places like , uh , new horizons. There are a billion programs out there. I argue that it's not that we don't have enough support for veterans, whether it's career support, financial support , uh, lifestyle support, family support. It's just that people don't know where to go. There's almost too many. It's hard to cut through the fog and know what's, what's, what's good and what's valuable and what's not predatory. And what , you know, that's where we come in and we try to help highlight those things that are legit. And this is legit. But if you are thinking about something about making a transition in your life or your career, and you have a thought in the back of your head, that's like, eh , you know, I can't, I can't survive a transition financially, right now. You may not know. I mean, there could be five programs out there. There could be a program that gives you grant support for a re-certification and grant support to pay rent while you're re-certifying. There are training programs for, for , uh , skilled technicians in the trades where you can get paid to apprentice and collect GI bill benefits. Like folks don't assume that the support isn't there for you, because you could be talking yourself out of an opportunity or a change that could be fruitful or meaningful for you and your family. That's all I got. Thank you for listening to Wisconsin, veterans forward brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce. Please visit email@example.com . Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast, leave a rating and review in whatever platform you're listening through .