ADA, Okla. (KTEN) — As e-sports grows in popularity in Ada, an effort is being made to expand career opportunities within the tech industry.

“People with an interest in some type of video games growing up typically have a very technical mindset, and a very technical amount of knowledge,” said Ada Jobs Foundation president James Eldridge. “Carrying that over — whether it’s from the hardware side or the software side.”

AJF started working with East Central University’s e-sports program to enhance its digital development strategy, established after taking part in a national rural innovation initiative in 2020.

Part of the plan is to fill jobs within the tech industry, like IT, computer programming, and coding.

“Legal Shield operating a data center and having highly skilled people to do coding, to a number of independent or small firms like WPS, creating pipelines for those students to be able to pursue those careers,” Eldridge said.

E-sports students are being targeted because of their technical aspirations. ECU e-sports coach Cody Soden said 16 of the program’s 18 students are enrolled in a science or technology-related degree.

“Computer science, they are pre-med majors. Any of those in that STEM field,” Soden said. “Some businesses are excited to see that. The other thing that we have that’s an advantage is, we have a diversity of male and female ratio; it’s about 60-40.”

ECU’s e-sports program will hold open tryouts on August 16, another opportunity to recruit students for tech industry growth in Ada.