- McDonald's of Washington, D.C. Maryland Virginia and Eastern Shore; global esports organization Gen.G; and Cxmmunity a nonprofit whose mission is to increase the number of minorities engaging in the gaming industry, today announced they are partnering to host the HBCU NetWORK, a two day gaming and esports conference for HBCU students in the Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Eastern Shore area.
The virtual conference, which will be streamed on November 12 and 13 on twitch.tv/gengsports, will feature competitive games, panels and workshops such as highlighting African-American leaders in the esports and gaming community. Throughout the event, attendees will hear from prominent speakers and panelists in topics such as "Unsung Heroes: Lesser Known Careers in Gaming" or the "Craft Your Story" workshop, intending to help attendees build their personal brand.
Locally-owned McDonald's franchise locations supported Gen.G and Cxmmunity on overall event programming, tournament execution, and fostering connections with HBCUs in the DC, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area. The partnership's mission is to bridge opportunity gaps in the gaming and esports industry by presenting HBCU students with the opportunity to interact potential career paths in all areas of competitive gaming from content creation to venue management. Creating opportunities for HBCU students is yet another way local McDonald's Owner/Operators support growth and equity in their communities.
"We want to support the next generation of leaders in our community by offering them ways to engage with industries that excite them and match their passions and talents," said Raoul Alvarez , a local McDonald's Owner/Operator. "We're committed to showing our belief in the futures of these students and couldn't be more excited to partner with Gen.G on this exciting esports conference."
Cxmmunity is also creating a mentorship program for selected HBCU students that are aspiring content creators, with Gen.G providing equipment to improve their gaming setups and influencers to engage with students through games.
"As we developed this program with McDonald's and Gen.G, it was incredibly important to offer these students a complete experience in terms of curriculum, community and some competition," said Ryan Johnson , founder and executive director of Cxmmunity. "We want to connect them with leaders in our industry who can inspire them to pursue a career in the esports or video game industry."
Additionally, top competitive players and clubs from HBCUs in the DMV area will be invited to participate in tournaments, with cash prizes going to the winning programs. A highlight of the conference will be the "Hero Stories" panel in which guest speakers will share their personal career journeys, coach students on how to improve their gaming abilities, and share industry knowledge on how students can become better content creators.
"We are excited to once again partner with McDonald's, this time to focus on the development and growth of diversity and representation in the esports and gaming space," said Kahlil Keys , Director of Strategic Initiatives at Gen.G. "Working with Cxmmunity to foster community and encourage academic excellence has been instrumental in furthering our mission of developing the industry's next generation of talented and diverse voices."
In addition to tournaments and guest speakers, the conference will feature development events including a professionalism workshop and a content creator workshop focused on how to build a personal brand. Students will also have the chance to participate in a virtual cosplay contest and enter giveaways between panels and tournaments.
HBCU NetWORK is presented by DMV McDonald's Gaming, which extends the Brand's gaming program. Earlier this year, McDonald's and Gen.G announced the expansion of the Crew League and All Stars competition to the East Coast, which aimed at engaging employees and gaming fans in select regions across the U.S.
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