Activision Blizzard can’t stay out of the public eye, it seems. Today’s update isn’t anything negative, thankfully. Moreover, it’s something along the lines of creating more workplace jobs. Previously, the company managed to set aside $250 million for its diversity fund back in October, and today, it’s spending some of that to create its Level Up U program.
What this program does is that it trains non-industry professionals and experienced industry workers to become game developers full-time. The Level Up U program is the first major program funded through the above diversity fund. Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, had some comments to offer relating to it.
Talent and diversity have always been critical to our success. The rapid growth of the industry, including our franchises, has made it clear that we need to find new ways to attract and grow talent. This is the first of many Level Up U programs, and our plan is to expand to other skill areas such as art and animation. I’m incredibly excited about the potential of Level Up U.
So, what's the process here? Level Up U, after it accepts a trainee, puts them through a twelve-week program consisting of on-site and online training. The first group of these trainees consists of 104 candidates, all joining as full-time employees. After completion of the program, candidates continue to receive coaching and mentorship from employees, eventually integrating into roles that better suit their skillset at Activision Blizzard.
Tad Leckman, a development and industry veteran with 20 years of experience, is the one in charge as the Dean of Level Up U. Leckman’s created various training programs at Lucasfilm Animation, Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games, and Industrial Light and Magic, for designers, engineers, artists, and writers. Now, she's going to assist in this 'one of a kind' program.
According to Activision Blizzard, the program managed to attract a diverse first group. With 40% of the class representing underrepresented ethnic groups and 45% women and non-binary participants. Finally, the CPO of Activision Blizzard, Julie Hodges, had her own thoughts relating to the Level Up U program. She stated the following regarding the program's goals:
We looked at a broader set of skills, experiences, and capabilities that we believe matter most to an employee’s success at Activision Blizzard and revisited where those skills exist in the market. We hope this will lead to greater talent mobility both within Activision Blizzard and in the games industry.
We’ll continue to update as more information about Level Up U and Activision Blizzard is released.