Michigan should be proud that two state teams earned top honors in the FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis – an indication of Michigan’s growing strength in the STEM fields, said Roger Curtis, director of the state Department of Talent and Economic Development.
The competition, which drew teams from more than 40 countries and 65,000 attendees, will be hosted by Detroit for the next three years.
FIRST Robotics features students pairing up with experts in the field to design and build robots for competitions, building skills in science, technology, engineering and math.
Lightning Robotics, with students from three Canton high schools, and Stryke Force, with students from several Kalamazoo area high schools, were part of a four-team “alliance” that emerged victorious in Saturday’s finals at The Dome at America’s Center.
“I’m celebrating what these teams accomplished, but also what they represent – that Michigan is the place for emerging talent in science and technology,” said Curtis, who attended the event. “FIRST competitions show students the real-word applications for these subjects, inspiring them to seek careers in these fields and help close our state’s talent gap.”
Michigan leads the nation in FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – teams, and had 93 high school teams alone participating at the World Championship in St. Louis, which had levels covering students in grades kindergarten through 12.
“Michigan has always been a leader in innovation. Thanks to the hard work of these students, the dedication of their coaches and the generosity of their sponsors, our state has also become a national leader in FIRST Robotics,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “FIRST promotes the types of skills that will prove to be vital as we continue Michigan’s reinvention on the path toward our future.”
Stryke Force, who was the captain of the alliance after seeding first in their division, included students from across the Kalamazoo area with Stryker, Midlink and the Kalamazoo County 4-H as their main sponsors. Lightning Robotics from Canton has students from Canton, Salem and Plymouth high schools, and main sponsors were Bosch, Jabil, Leidos, Nissan and Ford.
Starting in 2018, championship activities are to be held at Cobo Center and Ford Field. The championship event includes competitions in all four FIRST Robotics programs in grades kindergarten through 12 and is projected to generate as much as $90 million in economic impact over the three years.
But the long-term impact of the program could be greater, inspiring students to pursue studies and careers in science, technology and engineering, giving them skills sought by state employers looking to fill jobs in the emerging fields.
Source: Michigan Economic Development Corporation