Our History and Mission

Hope Training Academy has developed a rich, sucessful history over the years. We were founded by a passionate husband and wife team that wanted to change the way education is delivered to ultimately make a life-changing impact for our students. We give HOPE through Education.

Hope Training Academy was created to mirror a FAMILY style organization to help students in need.

Patterned after working inside a 40 year family business

Co-founders were raised and grew an amazingly sucessful family business with over 40 years of sucessful history, growth and success and have borrowed the best aspects into a unique school and learning environment

Barretto family celebrating son Grant's graduation from Indiana University. Grant is their 3rd IU Grad (Rick & Cara) with Pierce also currently attending IU also. Our family cherishes Education!

Retro Video Game Industry

DreamAuthentics was first to market to define custom arcades based on PC technology since 1999. Tornado Spinner is the top selling retro game spinner of all-time.

Law Enforcement Industry

iRecord, created in 2005 was the first to market to define the enterprise one touch video interrogation recording platform for Law Enforcement and Child Advocacy

Movie Licensing

DreamTrust corporation was the first to conceive, design and license a custom Harry Potter licensed line of re-usable, re-positionable wall art that was distributed globally

esports Industry

The LAN Network was one of the first establised leaders in esports athlete training and education for professional Halo players that was acquired and has evolved along with the growth of the esports industry

Education Industry

The Nonprofit Video Game Palooza (dba Hope Training Academy) has trained over 2,000 students since 2018 and has created an innovative education technology and training platform that Educates, Entertains and Inspires students to live their dreams. The platfomrm has evolved over the years to combine STEM education, esports and IT/Technical training to blend and enhance each student's natural creativity to help them identify their passion in life.

Birth of a new idea out of esports from "Ninja" and team...

Please watch this video that has co-founders Rick and Cara Barretto sharing some of their story about the evolution of Video Game Palooza, Hope Training Academy and learn how the esports global gaming superstar 'NINJA' (of Fortnite) and teammates help educate and inspire them to think different about how education can be delivered when people are passionate about what they do!

International Video Game Hall of Fame Inductees

In 2019 both Co-Founder Rick Barretto and Video Game Palooza were inducted into the International Video Game Hall of Fame. The induction was performed by fellow Hall of Famers Walter Day and International Video Game World Record holder Billy Mitchell along with all the rest of the wonderful people running the Hall of Fame.

Learn more about the International Video Game Hall of Fame, and our 2019 class presented by our good friends Walter Day and Billy Mitchell! We were blessed and honored to receive the call and induction and are proud to support this amazing organization!

Our Co-Founders are passionate
Entrepreneurs and Educators

Rick Barretto (Entrepreneur/Inventor)
Cara Barretto (Educator/Philanthropist)


 Video Game Palooza (d/b/a Hope Training Academy) was started in 2013 by serial entrepreneur, Rick Barretto, and lifelong educator, Cara Barretto. Cara and Rick are a husband and wife team with decades of combined expertise in IT innovation and gaming and K-12 education. Through their work with youth in Indianapolis and surrounding areas, in eSports league development, and gaming in education, Rick and Cara’s conversation with parents and interested adults led them to begin offering educational programming for adults, as well, since there was interest in not just understanding technologies for their children, but for increasing their career prospects, as well.

In June 2018, Hope Training Academy (HTA) launched as a program of the 501(c)(3) Video Game Palooza, which provides STEM education, gaming and coding education programming for youth.  HTA is a nonprofit training provider dedicated to helping end the cycle of poverty and financial insecurity for individuals by providing high-demand Information Technology (IT) credentials, leading to career attainment in rapidly growing, technology fields. Additionally, HTA seeks to address the tech sector’s growing need to increase skills and numbers of qualified individuals to fill the demands of the workforce. 

Current classes occur in our Castleton facility or in community partner locations. Partner locations have includes the Verizon Corporation, Indiana University, Indiana Wesleyan UniversityFlanner HouseIndianapolis Public Schools, Martin UniversityShepherd Community CenterWarren Township and Wayne Township Adult Education, Indiana Department of Workforce Development among others. Courses are also available online, in-person and in hybrid formats.


 Hope Training Academy is a nonprofit training provider dedicated to helping end the cycle of poverty and financial insecurity for individuals by providing training, support, and high-demand Information Technology (IT) credentials, leading to career attainment in rapidly growing, technology fields. Ve

Hope Training Academy Inspires students to learn using proven hands-on & experiential learning

We are a different type of educational experience

Co-founder Rick Barretto is a technology innovator, inventor and entrepreneur who is designing the experience in our training labs to show students how they can turn their passions into income and life-changing jobs and business creation

Students are encouraged to come to our hands-on training labs and to bond and interact with other students in a family style classroom that fosters learning, trust and fun!
Picture of our historic first Cohort! Pictured with our first professors including the late Dr. Mike Thompson who spent his life teaching and inspiring his students in education, character and ethics.
HTA has guest lecturers and industry professionals - this picture showing racing execuutive Bill Donaldson sharing how technology is involved in the Racing Industry to students
Dr. Mike in action!
Students come to Hope Training Academy with many different backgrounds and experiences to share and grow with others
Another student success story with Dej (from Nigeria) who earned 3 CompTIA Certifications with HTA - please watch video below to hear his inspirational story!

Enroll with us to begin your journey

Check out this video walkthrough of our first (PRE-COVID) training center. Unfortunately, COVID caused us and the shopping mall we were in…to have to close our school. Lots of special lives were changed for the better here and we will always have fond memories of our first cohorts of students at our Lafayette Square Mall campus. Come visit us at our current POST-COVID location where we have re-opened!

Do you have questions?