CARY – Epic Games will match a $100,000 federal grant to help jumpstart a tech apprenticeship program focused on 3D skills, the company says

Epic is the company behind Unreal Engine, a real-time 3D creation tool that powers not only games like Fortnite but also has applications in film and television, architecture, simulation, and more. 

The demand for Unreal Engine skills, like 3D graphics and real-time 3D, is growing faster than other IT roles and much faster than the global job market. According to a 2021 study led by Unreal Engine and Burning Glass, demand for real-time 3D skills has grown 601% faster than the 3D graphics market overall.

The program will be developed through Apprenti, a nonprofit that creates apprenticeship programs at companies with the goal of bridging tech talent and diversity gaps. Apprenti has placed apprentices at companies like Amazon, PayPal, and JPMorgan Chase.

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“At Epic, we’re working alongside Apprenti to deliver Unreal Engine apprenticeship programs for games, media and entertainment, and beyond,” said Julie Lottering, Director of Unreal Engine Education at Epic Games, in the press release. “This partnership is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential industry-transcending impact and we couldn’t be more excited for the future.”

Apprenti states that 85% of apprentices placed in their programs are from underrepresented groups.

“The content created by the gaming industry needs to include the viewpoints of its consumers,” said Jennifer Carlson, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Apprenti, in the press release. “It’s imperative that game developers reflect the diversity of end-users.” 

According to Victoria Mendoza, HR and management expert and CEO of the tech blog MediaPenut, apprenticeships are a way for companies to combat “the shortage” of Unreal Engine skills in the talent pool. 

“Last year, the gaming industry added 30,000 new entry-level positions, and it will be critical for studios and companies to reimagine the hiring process in order to build a more diverse and competitive workforce to meet this demand,” said Mendoza. “Epic Games has created an opportunity for organizations in the game industry to participate in the expansion of apprenticeships and I believe the entire gaming industry should adapt to this growing trend as well.”

Eric McGee, a Senior Network Engineer at TRG Datacenters, says that apprenticeships help companies recruit “diverse candidates” who may not have access to traditional employment opportunities due to a lack of resources or connections. 

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“By opening up opportunities for people from underrepresented groups and communities—who may not have access to traditional employment opportunities—companies can create a more inclusive workplace that reflects the diversity of its customers and clients,” said McGee.

In addition to the grant match, Epic will donate access to their Unreal Authorized Training Centers. The training and mentorship will be provided by CG Spectrum, an online animation, visual effects, and game development school.