Entain and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas have teamed-up to debut the Black Fire Women’s Innovation Igniter, which is described as a first of its kind initiative. The academic, technology, innovation and mentoring program is designed to provide UNLV undergraduate and graduate women with a pathway toward careers in the sports betting, gaming, and technology industries.
Jan Jones Blackhurst, a member of Caesars Entertainment Inc.’s board of directors and chief executive in residence of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, will lead the Black Fire Women’s Innovation Igniter program with Robert Rippee, executive director of the Black Fire Innovation Hub.
Blackhurst said the initiative will target women at the university who are interested in engineering and STEM and show them real-world applications for these skills.
“It’s hard to be what you can’t see. I want to make sure they see themselves in this job,” Blackhurst said. “(I want) young women coming into school to realize they have a much broader field of occupations to choose from than they considered before. I think we can help bring that to life.”
Research shows that women are largely underrepresented among leadership positions in the gaming and technology industries.
Women accounted for just 27 percent of workers in STEM-qualified industries, according to the nonprofit Catalyst. As for the U.S. gaming industry, one 2019 study from UNLV found women held 35.5 percent of positions that were manager level and above, and “the higher the position, the less women represented.”