Chester County IU Receives Grant to Develop Pennsylvania Esports Ecosystem

Esports© adamkaz / Getty Images Signature / Canva

DOWNINGTOWN, PA — In February of 2022, Governor Tom Wolf announced a third round of grants through the PAsmart program, distributing $10 million to advance education in science and technology throughout Pennsylvania. In partnership with the Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) STEM Ecosystem, the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) received $500,000 to develop a Pennsylvania Esports Ecosystem.

Scholastic esports involves competitive gaming and helps participants develop useful skills such as communication, teamwork and the experience necessary to strengthen the workforce of Pennsylvania. The affiliate organization for the North American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) at the state level is known as the Pennsylvania Scholastic Esports League (PSEL), which is run by the CCIU. The goal of the PSEL is to provide students in Pennsylvania with college and career opportunities through esports.

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As the leader of PSEL, the CCIU will use this grant money to support the growth of an esports ecosystem across the entire state. An esports ecosystem will provide children with a sense of community and the skills necessary to succeed in computer science and technology-related fields. The active development of esports communities will grant student teams equal access to equipment and the ability to grow their skills.

The grant will allow for increased organization of esports-related events such as tournaments and other STEM-driven competitions. With increased access to such events, typically underserved students will be given the opportunity to find a place of belonging. The COVID-19 pandemic has been very difficult for young people everywhere, and this has emphasized the need for spaces where learners can be part of a community. As a major leader of STEM education in the United States, it is important for Pennsylvania to continue to invest in helping students to achieve the skills needed to thrive in the modern workforce.

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Kammas Kersch, STEM Services Coordinator and Director of the Pennsylvania Scholastic Esports League, had this to say about the grant: “Through our leadership of the Pennsylvania Scholastic Esports League, we look forward to growing our statewide partnerships and collaboration through this grant, knowing that we will be able to bring esports, STEM, and a sense of belonging to students across the Commonwealth with this work.”

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