LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The landscape of the traditionally male-dominated esports industry is changing rapidly, and the non-profit 1,000 Dreams Fund is helping young women with a passion for video games to level up their careers.

As part of the 1DF’s BroadcastHER Academy, four such women got to take part in an immersive, behind-the-scenes program at the Allied Gaming HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel and Casino.

They got to shadow the arena’s production teams, learn more about esports careers and help produce a live esports tournament at the venue.

“They just kind of get a really hands-on look at this industry, and that’s the coolest part of this program,” said Christie Garton, founder and CEO of the 1,000 Dreams Fund.

The BroadcastHER Academy was started by 1DF in 2019 for women specifically interested in esports careers. The participants all receive a $1,000 “micro-grant” to further their career aspirations, on top of the trip to the HyperX Arena.

Garton said one of the problems with the esports industry is that it is a relatively new career field without clear pathways yet into actual jobs.

“It’s getting better. Colleges are investing in these types of programs, but we saw a gap,” she said. “So this is a fellowship, really, to give our women, whether they’re in school or maybe they’ve graduated or maybe they’ve taken a different path, to give them an experience they can put on a resume and eventually help them apply for jobs that will give them that access to the industry they want.”

Topaz Bess, a child development specialist from Sacramento, was one of the grant recipients. She sees a bright future for women in the esports field.

“Times are changing. Tolerance is really big, acceptance is really big,” Bess said. “Having women and people who are not men in these industries is becoming normal.”

Stephens College student Gisselle Benitez said she wants to get into the industry not just as a gamer, but as someone who works on the live production side of things.

“Actually going out and seeing the exact jobs, the intricate jobs that goes into this industry, like creating the products, creating connections and things like that, and I know that there’s still more to learn, so I’m really excited about that too,” Benitez said of the academy.

1DF’s mission is “to support dreams of talented young women in need by providing access to critical funding, resources and meaningful mentor relationships.” For more information on the support and programs they provide, visit their website at 1000dreamsfund.org.