RHD’s IDEATE Joins Forces with Comcast for Philly Tech Week Panel!

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: IDEATE participant Tyrike Brown speaks about his experience as an eSports player and diverse small business owner in Philadelphia.

On May 9, 2022, the collaboration between RHD’s IDEATE, eSports, and Arcadia University culminated with a panel discussion co-hosted by Comcast during Philly Tech Week.

The panel was held at Comcast LIFT Labs at the Comcast Technology Center at 1800 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA. Comcast had reached out to IDEATE with interest in co-hosting the event.

From January 19 to February 2, 2022, IDEATE, eSports, and Arcadia had explored the impact of technology and game play on disability stigma, social isolation, and inclusion. IDEATE program participants attended eSports sessions and spoke about their experiences alongside peers who do not identify as disabled.

During the May 9 discussion, the panel came to a broad consensus that the study led to increased inclusion, teamwork, and an overall reduction of disability stigma. Neither game play nor teamwork was impacted by disability status, they found.

The group agreed that the project would be enhanced by evaluative batteries. They recommended formal identification of criteria of inclusion and teamwork, as well as more clarity regarding the amount of time needed and whether team size is a factor.

They also stressed the need to increase diversity on eSports teams. Bill Rodgers, Director of Arcadia eSports, noted that his incoming first-year class is their most diverse; just under half of all players identify as LGBTQ.

LIFT Labs agreed to connect RHD and Arcadia to Comcast Accessibility as well as Spectacor, the Comcast eSports group, to continue to explore these topics.

Kaelynne Koval, Program Director of IDEATE, says, “Our goal is to co-create curriculum and to intentionally expand the number of individuals who participate in eSports as well as the diversity they bring to the discipline.”

IDEATE is an inclusive employment program dedicated to providing trauma-informed support to individuals with barriers to getting and sustaining earning opportunities. IDEATE’s mission is provide person-tailored pathways to careers in both competitive and self-employment, utilizing technology and community engagement. For more information, visit https://www.rhd.org/ideate/.