DMII expanding via LED grant

Digital Media Institute at InterTech (DMII), a division of BRF, has been granted $500,000 over two years by Louisiana Economic Development (LED), via the LED Entertainment Development Fund, to provide workforce development programs in digital media for the state. 

With the grant, DMII, headquartered in Shreveport, announces its expansion to serve students through distance learning offerings at the University of New Orleans (UNO), Northwestern State University (NSU) and Nunez Community College (Nunez). 

The schools will provide a section of DMII’s proven intensive model – the accredited one-year certificate program in Animation, Visual Effects and Interactive Content (AVEI). The expansion through the three schools aims to increase and enhance the state’s workforce serving the film industry. 

“The Entertainment Development Fund boosts workforce education and development and provides opportunities for our state’s content creators, like those at the Digital Media Institute,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. “We congratulate DMII on its expansion through UNO, Northwestern and Nunez as they extend more opportunities for Louisiana residents to obtain the education and training needed to contribute to our entertainment industry.” 

DMII students graduate ready to work as professional digital artists with high tech skills in the latest industry techniques taught by proven professionals. They then go on to fill positions critical to entertainment and film content and beyond throughout the state. 

Grant funds will be used to expand DMII’s AVEI program to multiple on-site classrooms and implement online offerings statewide, making the program more accessible. The AVEI program will be available on site in four locations as well as online day or night. 

“Our goal through these partnerships is to make digital media education more accessible to more Louisiana students,” said John F. George Jr., M.D., BRF President and CEO. “Building a knowledge-based economy through our workforce is an important component of economic development and BRF’s mission.” 

“Through the Animation, Visual Effects and Interactive Content program, students will learn 3D modeling, texturing, animation, motion capture, digital cinema, virtual production, virtual reality and augmented reality content, digital compositing and editing on the same tech used by major studios,” said DMII Executive Director John Miralles. “Our students will emerge from this program 

ready to excel in the workforce. Our model is responsive to the industry’s desire to have useful skills on day one of employment.” 

NSU students will benefit from DMII’s one-year certificate program, which creates a credentialling option that is appealing to students seeking a skillset that prepares them for digital media and the film industry, said NSU Vice President for Technology, Innovation and Economic Development Dr. Darlene Williams. 

“Northwestern will assist DMII in marketing the offering as well as create local accessibility by providing classroom space,” said Williams. 

Nunez Chancellor Dr. Tina Tinney said St. Bernard Parish is particularly well suited to provide DMII with a steady stream of students thanks to the success of The Ranch Film Studios in Chalmette and the exceptional media program already in place at Chalmette High School. 

“We have to be very strategic about our partnerships. We can’t shake hands with people who we can’t deliver for. DMII is dedicated to helping students learn by doing and putting those students to work. So are we,” said Tinney. “This will be a mutually beneficial partnership that offers a workforce pipeline in direct response to our regional industry needs.” 

“At UNO, we are excited about the opportunities this partnership will give our students and the community of businesses looking for graduates with key skills. DMII’s courses align with our mission of making sure our graduates are workforce ready and prepared to succeed,” said Matt Tarr, UNO Vice President of Research and Economic Development. “Through this partnership, we hope to expand the courses available within our Film Production, Computer Science, and Fine Arts programs and to provide greater alignment with workforce needs.” 

“We are very pleased with the opportunity to support DMII’s expansion and MOU with the University of New Orleans,” said Rebecca Conwell, President and CEO of the UNO Research and Technology Foundation. “Our newly renamed research park, The Beach, A Sandbox for Collaboration will provide an inspiring environment for DMII students where they will have the opportunity to work with tenants and community partners and engage in the innovation process.” 

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