Gov. Rick Snyder: Michigan's FIRST Robotics world champions reflect collaborative efforts to build talent

FIRST robotics picture

Teams from Canton, Kalamazoo areas saluted on Capitol steps

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s FIRST Robotics world champions are great examples of how educators and employers are coming together to help students gain real-world skills and make the state a leader in developing talent, Gov. Rick Snyder said Wednesday while welcoming the teams to the state Capitol.

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 the FIRST Robotics World Championships in April. They defeated teams from 40 countries.

“I’m proud of these students and also the coaches, mentors, sponsors and parents who worked so hard to show the world the talent and innovation we have here in Michigan,” Snyder said. “FIRST Robotics brings science, technology, engineering and math to life. Team members learn skills they can use for the rest of their lives to solve challenging problems and follow a pathway to good-paying and rewarding careers.”

Michigan leads the nation in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) teams with more than 450 statewide. There were 93 state high school teams participating at the World Championship in St. Louis, Mo., which had levels covering students in Kindergarten through 12th grade.

“The most beneficial experience these students are receiving is the exposure to multiple pathways into Michigan’s talented workforce,” said Roger Curtis, director of the state Department of Talent and Economic Development. “These teams highlight how we can bring students, industry experts and schools together to help narrow our state’s talent gap and move Michiganders, their families and our economy forward.” 

Beginning in 2018, Detroit will host the FIRST Robotics’ World Championship for three years. The events are expected to generate $90 million in economic impact.