GREENVILLE, N.C. — East Carolina University and MrBeast are announcing an exclusive partnership aimed at developing a credentialing program to help solve the creator industry’s growing demand for a skilled workforce pipeline. 

Valued by Fast Company at $104 billion annually, the content creator industry is seen as an emerging leader of the global economy. MrBeast’s brand alone is the largest on the YouTube platform with five channels, 111 million subscribers on just the main channel and a collective 20 billion views. In addition, the brand also owns MrBeast Burger, Feastables, and a nonprofit charity, Beast Philanthropy. This program will not focus on finding the next YouTube star, but instead will provide training and credentialing for employees who work for creator companies that produce content.  

The creator industry includes more than 50 million amateurs and 2 million professionals, of which more than 1 million earn a living on YouTube alone. The need for highly qualified staff drives the creation of this program. The microcredential courses will be delivered fully online and prepare enrollees for entry-level positions in camera work, editing, analytics and other needed creator industry skills. The program will not require applicants to be currently enrolled as traditional four-year students at ECU and is expected to launch in six to 12 months.  

“ECU has always stepped up to support our key partners in innovative ways and this new learner-centered strategy is designed to meet the educational needs of the creator economy at a critical moment in the evolution of this growing industry,” ECU Chancellor Philip Rogers said.  

The creator industry is advancing rapidly. As it grows, its need for a professionalized workforce grows too. Finding employees with the right combination of perseverance, aptitude and technical knowledge is challenging. The risk of hiring someone with limited capacity in any of these areas decreases operational efficiency and, ultimately, company success. 

“This program is focused on addressing these challenges head on,” Rogers said. “In this program, industry insiders collaborate directly with academic experts to connect cutting-edge techniques with the knowledge creation engine of a university.” 

ECU is a nationally recognized leader for its innovation, educational leadership and strong ability to deliver courses online. The university and the creator industry will work together to build a curriculum that addresses the workforce needs and meets rigorous academic standards.  

According to ECU Provost Robin Coger, “The goal of this program is to educate a well-prepared workforce for immediate employment across the creator economy globally. Our partner, MrBeast, is the leader in this rapidly growing industry. The collaboration is innovative because it couples the expertise of ECU faculty and industry leaders to create new, flexible and responsive strategies to support a fast-paced global economic engine.”  

A native of Greenville, Jimmy Donaldson, aka MrBeast, earned the top spot on the Forbes list of 2022 Top Creators. When he was 13, Donaldson began making and posting videos. That has developed into a creator business, headquartered in Greenville, that today has 125 full-time plus approximately 125 contract employees. MrBeast has built its brand on four pillars: spectacles, philanthropy, general good, and in-real-life comedy of family-friendly content.  

The idea for the program developed as Donaldson and members of his team spoke with Rogers and the ECU team. For large content creators like his company, Donaldson explained it’s difficult to find and retain skilled talent able to join a team and have the knowledge and competencies needed for their specific type of filming, editing and strategy.  

“Genuinely, I hope this is as beneficial for you as it’s going to be for a lot of creators like us. I can see this completely changing the industry. I’m excited!” Donaldson said.

For ECU, this partnership continues a tradition of working with regional businesses and members of the community to address a defined need. As a true public-private partnership, the curriculum will be collaboratively developed and delivered by university academicians and industry leaders, including experts from MrBeast. This ensures that students learn the most relevant skills, up-to-date techniques, and exposure to insider knowledge to ensure they are ready — at the conclusion of the program — to be fully employed by a creator company. 

The program will be part of ECU’s research, economic development and engagement strategies, led by Dr. Sharon Paynter, who said, “This innovative program expands ECU’s offerings to meet demand from today’s adult learners. It gives the university a way to provide alternative pathways for career preparation and allows ECU to meet students where they are in the workforce landscape.”

Program updates will be available at https://creator.ecu.edu