Michigan is first in FIRST, shows off Comeback City at international competition

Snyder visits FIRST World Championships in Detroit

Friday, April 27, 2018

DETROIT – Gov. Rick Snyder visited the FIRST World Championships in Detroit today to celebrate the achievements of Michigan’s FIRST Robotics teams and highlight the importance of STEM education.

“Michigan has always been a leader in innovation, and thanks to the tremendous effort and commitment of these students, their parents and coaches, our state has also become a national leader in FIRST Robotics,” Snyder said. “FIRST teaches skills that are critically important to being successful in the jobs of today and tomorrow. The students you see competing here today are our future.”

While at the World Championships, Snyder met with Michigan FIRST teams and watched as they competed against teams from around the world.

“The FIRST World Championships are a chance to not only showcase the incredible Michigan students who will be competing, but also the city of Detroit and its unprecedented comeback,” Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said. “Because of the hard work of these students and their parents, mentors, sponsors and coaches, Michigan will own the economic future.”

FIRST Robotics programs are collaborations between schools and experts in the field, where they work together to design and build robots for competitions, learning to solve challenging problems and gaining in-demand skills that can lead to rewarding careers.

“The Michigan Women’s Commission is proud to support FIRST. This valuable program inspires our youth and provides leadership opportunities in this rapidly changing world by engaging them in STEM,” Michigan Women’s Commission Chair Chris Etienne said. “We are particularly excited about supporting and empowering young women to be active participants in the advancement of science and technology and the future of our economic success in the great State of Michigan.”

Individuals who participate in FIRST are twice as likely to major in science or engineering and 41 percent of all students and 33 percent of women who participate in FIRST go on to major in engineering.

Michigan is a national leader with 508 FIRST Robotics teams – more teams than California and New York combined. The state has supported FIRST Robotics with $12.3 million in total investments over the past five years as an effort to encourage students to study science, technology, engineering and math.  Teams play a big role in state efforts to lead the nation in building a talented workforce. FIRST Robotics is an example of educators and employers coming together to help students gain real-world skills and change the way that talent is developed, retained and attracted.

“The impact FIRST has on students is long-lasting. It’s a great way for young people to get out of the classroom and in a project-based learning environment and bringing lessons to life,” Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan Director Roger Curtis said. “As Michigan looks to build a robust talent pipeline ready to fill the thousands of good jobs coming back to the state, FIRST remains a key component to Michigan’s talent development system.”

FIRST is divided into four categories based on the participant’s grade. FIRST Lego League Jr. (K-4), FIRST Lego League (4–8), FIRST Tech Challenge (7–12) and the FIRST Robotics Competition (9–12).

The championship event includes competitions in all four FIRST Robotics programs and is projected to generate as much as $90 million in economic impact over the next three years. 

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