TWC Awards FIRST in Texas a $1,000,000 Competitive Robotics Grant

AUSTIN October 2, 2019 - The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has awarded FIRST in Texas, a $1,000,000 Texas High School Competitive Robotics Education Team Development and Support Program grant. The purpose of the program is to expand statewide participation in robotics programs for high school students.

TWC is proud to join FIRST in Texas in providing a setting where extraordinary students can get hands-on experience in STEM disciplines,” said TWC Chairman and Commissioner Representing the Public Bryan Daniel. “Partnerships that create opportunities for our youth are how Texas will remain a leader in STEM and strengthen our economic development by preparing our future leaders to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.”

The grant awarded to FIRST in Texas will be used to develop 150 new competitive robotics education teams made up of students that have never participated in any competitive robotics competition. The grant will also be used to continue supporting over 300 existing competitive robotics education teams of students that have competed in a competitive robotics competition before and are returning for a second year or more. Over 1,500 Texas students, who have never participated in competitive robotics, will join 4,850 Texas students already participating in the program.

“In an increasingly competitive job market, individuals with hands-on experience in STEM disciplines are highly sought-after,” said TWCCommissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “The knowledge and skills gained by these innovators through this exciting program can inspire them to pursue a rewarding career in high demand STEM fields and prepare them to be the future workforce of our state."

Robotics competitions bring together the excitement of sports and science and technology. The FIRST in Texas Robotics Competitions are mentor-based programs that encourage leadership skills in the science, engineering and technology fields of study while encouraging self-confidence and communications skills. 

Under set rules, and with limited resources, teams of 20 or more students are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. The intense, six-week time limit introduces students to the real-world expectations of a career as an engineer.

“Robotics competitions are a unique opportunity for students to explore STEM related careers in a fun, exciting environment,” said TWCCommissioner Representing Employers Aaron Demerson. “Individuals with applied skills in STEM disciplines are highly coveted by our employers and FIRST in Texas provides an amazing platform for young scholars to demonstrate their tremendous talents and hone skills for potential future careers.”

“This is a great example of how the Texas Workforce Commission embraces the impact of the work FIRST in Texas does in preparing the next generation of STEM-inspired students who will become the leaders and innovators in the Great State of Texas,” said President/Executive Director - FIRST in Texas Patrick Felty.

TWC has supported FIRST in Texas high school programs since they were founded in 2010 through sponsorship grants for high school teams and competitions across the state. Go to the Robotics webpage for more information about this program.  

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