The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE), Australia’s leading educator for the Computer Game Development and 3-D digital industries, has chosen Lafayette, Louisiana as the home for their base of operations in the southern United States. The school and its associated businesses plan to bring more than 125 jobs in the digital media and gaming industries to Louisiana within the next five years.
“We evaluated many locations in the south and along the southeastern seaboard of the United States and selected Louisiana because of the aggressive marketing they are doing to bring studios, developers and post production facilities to the state” says Dr. Christopher Erhardt, Head of School-Offshore for the AIE. “From our base of operations in Lafayette we plan on maintaining solid outreach to New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport with focused certification programs and course content for their specific digital media needs.”
Founded in 1996, AIE offers courses in game art, design and programming as well as film and TV 3D design and visualization effects. The school has received numerous ACT (Australian Capital Territory) Training awards and continues to be the leader in game development and 3-D effects education in Australia. Looking to expand internationally, AIE began searching for locations that have a wealth of creative talent and entrepreneurial spirit such as Lafayette, Louisiana.
“Lafayette is ideal as a center for our initiatives in the South,” says Vicki DeMargheriti, CEO of the AIE International. “The people of Lafayette are warm and passionate about growing their involvement in digital media as can be evidenced by the LITE center and the fiber optic network of LUS and we are convinced that with this infrastructure and their passion we can develop skilled programmers, artists, technicians and quality assurance engineers in the coming years”.
AIE looked to Lafayette because of its role as a key player in the digital media and film industry in the South. Well known for its fast moving innovations, Lafayette makes a perfect fit for AIE.
“Lafayette’s digital media business base and workforce are expanding as evidenced by the city’s inclusion in Southern Business & Development Magazine’s recent list of the top 10 places where digital media is clustered,” says Gregg Gothreaux, Lafayette Economic Development Authority President and CEO. “Having a well-trained workforce is the key to growing local businesses and attracting new businesses from outside the region. AIE offers another valuable avenue students can take to get the required skill sets to actively participate in Acadiana’s emerging digital media workforce.”
With both economic and cultural growth in mind for Lafayette, many organizations worked together to make this project possible.
“Louisiana Digital Gaming Initiative, LDGI, is proud to join our partners in assisting AIE with their selection of the Lafayette Region as their first location in Louisiana. We are particularly grateful for the opportunity to work with the University, LITE and the Opportunity Machine,” says Jeff Pellegrin, Louisiana Digital Gaming Initiative, Inc. Executive Director. “Our team worked hard to support AIE’s decision to come to Lafayette. LDGI knows that without talent generation and the educational programs that AIE provides it will not be possible for Louisiana to grow the digital gaming and media labor force needed to be competitive on a national and international scale. We are certain that AIE will help produce the digital workforce that small and large digital firms are seeking.”