AbleGamers is now accepting applications for its fellowship program. The program will give grants to student developers with disabilities in an effort to increase diversity in the game industry’s work force.

The industry has only just recently begun discussing ways that video games can be made more accessible. Many changes are simple to implement, but until accessibility is on the forefront of developers’ minds—or until guidelines are put in place to make accessibility a necessary part of game dev—it probably won’t happen. Welcoming more developers who are disabled themselves is one important step in the right direction.

Applications for the AbleGamers Fellowship will be accepted from now through the end of October. Two applicants who meet the eligibility guidelines will be selected for the grant. The guidelines include the requirement that applicants be a third- or fourth-year undergrad or a grad student at an accredited college or university. They must also maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and must be enrolled in a computer science program focused on some aspect of game development. The fellowship is open only to students with disabilities (a group that has traditionally been underrepresented). The grantees will each receive a $10,000 scholarship, as well as mentorship opportunities with game industry professionals and the chance to take a paid internship with developer and program partner Motiga, the company that developed Gigantic.

“This is just the beginning,” says AbleGamers founder Mark Bartlet. “As our AbleGamers Fellowship continues to grow and new partners come on board, we’ll continue to enhance the program each and every year.”

AbleGamers is a nonprofit charity group that “aims to improve the overall quality of life for those with disabilities through the power of video games [because] video games allow individuals with disabilities to experience situations that may be difficult or limited in the real world, provide social networking opportunities to maintain mental and emotional health, and participate in one of the world’s largest pastimes.”

This article was written by

Keezy is a gamer, illustrator, and designer. Her background is in teaching and tutoring kids from ages 9 to 19, and she's led workshops for young women in STEM. She is also holds a certificate in teaching English. Her first memory of gaming is when her dad taught her to play the first Warcraft when she was five. You can find her at Key of Zee and on Twitter @KeezyBees.