Each spring, General Motors employees from around the world work with students to engage in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Competition. GM is a founding sponsor of FIRST, and supports hundreds of teams encompassing thousands of students around the world.
FIRST is just one of the many programs and activities focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that GM and its employees take part in globally. Each year GM’s Global Manufacturing team members, from 169 GM facilities in more than 30 counties, participate in some 300 local area education initiatives as part of the company’s Driving a Better Tomorrow goal.
FIRST has four programs for students from grades K-12, all of which see GM employees act as coaches and mentors to students. In the fall, the attention is on the younger children who compete in the Junior FIRST Lego League and FIRST Lego League competitions. During the winter and spring, older students compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge and the aforementioned FIRST Robotics Competition. Teams from around the world compete in March and April in the competition to qualify for the FIRST Championship in St. Louis MO., which begins tomorrow and runs through to Saturday.
“GM places a high priority on education. We are a leader in supporting STEM programs from elementary schools to post-graduate programs around the world,” Jim DeLuca, executive vice president of GM Global Manufacturing said in a statement. “Our Global Manufacturing team works with students at all levels to spark their interest in careers that will benefit them.”
Over two-dozen GM-sponsored FIRST teams from around the world be among nearly 400 total FIRST Robotics Competition teams cooperating in randomly selected ‘alliances’ of robots competing against other three-robot alliances. According to FIRST, the ultimate goal is to earn the right to select their own alliance partners for a shot at becoming the 2014 FRC champions.
“Employees from numerous companies, including GM, play a critical role in helping mentor FIRST team members around the world,” said FIRST President Don Bossi. “By taking what they experience each day on their jobs, these employees help youth learn and develop engineering and problem-solving skills that can be applied in FIRST competitions and future careers.”