Core Immersive Labs wants to ensure the metaverse’s builders are diverse

Paolo Narcisoa 38-year veteran of the tech sector, has a vision to provide underserved populations with the training, tools, and opportunities to succeed within the VR and blockchain worlds.

This vision led Narciso to develop Core Immersive Labsa six-month training program that is set to start next month at 1100 Wicomico in Baltimore’s Pigtown neighborhood. The company’s space at the coworking facility will also double as a place for community members (including those beyond the training cohort) to learn about NFTs, VR/AR technology and blockchain.

The curriculum and concept for the company, which was a finalist in the Maryland Institute College of Art‘s (MICA) UP/Start Venture Competition, grew out of Narciso’s work teaching tech skills to Syrian refugees who eventually reported a 100% hire rate. Working with MICA helped turn Narciso’s urge to pay his knowledge forward into a full business.

Narciso currently works as lead product development and innovation for the AARP Foundation. He is also a serial entrepreneur, with three companies founded and exited under his belt, and boasts a Ph.D. in education. His time analyzing data from the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance(part of his ongoing studies in MICA’s master’s program in data analytics and visualization) showed him that Baltimore could be a perfect place to forge a tech careers pipeline.

Those interested in learning VR and blockchain technology can apply via Core Immersive Labs’ website. The application is less involved than most and allows applicants to express why they want to enter tech. Those accepted can expect to learn C Sharp (C#), Web3 and Unity for 10 hours per week. Participants will spend the last four weeks building their projects and pitching ideas to prospective employers.

“We’re expecting folks to come more with passion, and we’re looking for folks that are problem solvers,” Narciso told “We’re looking for people who are super curious and can find information pretty quickly that they can apply — not math or computer science, because that’s something we’ll teach them.”

Curiosity is more important than inherent skills, according to Narciso: ” The job of a developer or designer, 80% of it is Googling what the solution is and looking for somebody who tried something before. Then you take that code. That’s the reality of the industry.”

Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. -30-

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