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Sony has announced that two new partners have been added to its $100 million Global Social Justice Fund, started in June 2020 by Sony Group to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion. As part of this initiative, it will now extend the PlayStation Career Pathways Program, first created in 2021, to scholarship programs by UNCF and USC Games so it reaches “hundreds of Black and underrepresented students in the future.” So far, Sony Interactive Entertainment has already committed $11 million “to advance race equity within the gaming industry and beyond.”
What the Social Justice Fund provides for PlayStation Career Pathways scholars
Tiffany Johnson, SIE’s Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, says in a statement on the company’s blog that these scholarship programs will help fund mentorships and early career support to “aspiring Black university students seeking degrees related to the gaming industry.” A video on PlayStation Career Pathways supporting the USC Games’ Gerald A. Lawson Fund (posted above) shares racial diversity statistics from Ramone Russell, a Product Development Communications and Brand Strategist at San Diego Studio. He states:
The video game industry is not diverse. Over 80 percent of Black youth play video games. When we flip that number around and look at who’s creating the video games, that number is in single digits.
Johnson adds that this is the challenge moving forward, trying to figure out how to “attract, engage, prepare underrepresented talent to not just have a job in the gaming industry, but have a career.”
For additional clarity, Sony has shared an additional video revealing that each PlayStation Career Pathways Scholar will receive up to $30,000 in scholarship funds as well as mentorships from PlayStation Studios employees. They will also gain early career experiences throughout their collegiate years, with the video showing in-house logos of Santa Monica Studio and Naughty Dog as examples of the potential companies these students may learn from.