LOFT & ELAC: Mixing Arts & Sciences Series

Alberto Avalos

Innovation and Technology Program Manager

MONTEREY PARK, CA – East Los Angeles College (ELAC), Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s (HHF) Leaders On Fast Track program (LOFT), Department of Education, Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and other partners presented the third segment in ELAC’s Mixing Arts & Science series on May 15 from 6-8 p.m. at the ELAC auditorium (1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park, CA 91754). The purpose was to introduce and encourage Latinos to enter STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers through video gaming, in which Hispanics and other minorities are over indexed as users.  Art is being added to the traditional STEM categories making it STEAM.

“At the core of LOFT’s video gaming initiatives is the belief that using technology for social change or career paths is essential to not only the advancement of minority communities, but America as a nation,” said Emanuel Pleitez, Chair of HHF and an LA native. “Through this creative partnership with ELAC, DOE and ESA, we are engaging youth on their terms, through video games. The link from playing a video game to developing one to computer coding, cybersecurity and other skills gap areas is part of the strategy for this effort in Los Angeles.”

The event, titled “The Art of Video Games,” featured video gaming industry experts highlighting the connection between playing video games to developing them to entertaining careers in technology which would fill an ever-growing skills gap in America. Public officials and other leaders from the area also participated including Congressman Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Pleitez, and Los Angeles City General Manager Jan Perry.  The students explored career opportunities, learned employment forecast, participated in interactive and hands-on demonstrations from video game companies, and formed connections to help build a seamless integration of STEM and the Arts. A reception immediatelyed follow the event.