Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn has become a FIRST strategic partner for the student robotics community. Ford’s partnership is the highest level of sponsorship. The automaker has supported FIRST for more than 20 years.
FIRST encourages STEM learning for students of all ages and works to build self-confidence, teamwork, communication, and leadership. It will host a FIRST Championship from April 28-May 2 at the TCF Center in Detroit.
“FIRST is proud to recognize Ford Motor Co. as a strategic partner,” says Larry Cohen, president of FIRST. “Ford’s dedication and involvement has spanned more than 20 years, and tens of thousands of students have been mentored by passionate Ford employees.
“FIRST participants are two to three times more likely to have gains in STEM career interest, and we know that sparking this interest is critical for closing the skills gap of the current STEM workforce. Together with Ford, we will continue to inspire more students to pursue STEM and provide role models, mentorship, and pathways to successful and productive lives.”
Ford’s investment comes as the company works to build tech skills globally and develop technologies such as autonomous vehicles. The company plans to encourage more mentorship and volunteering from their employees.
“Inspiring next-generation innovators has never been more important in a world where technology is transforming so many parts of our lives so quickly and only is speeding up,” says Ken Washington, chief technology officer for Ford. “This is why Ford is not waiting for change to happen, but instead leading a number of disruptions such as autonomous vehicles that could work with robots for more efficient e-commerce deliveries that will usher in a new era of transportation. To create this future, we are counting on a talented workforce of the type that FIRST’s efforts are helping us to secure.”
During the 2019-2020 season, Ford provided support for more than 200 teams across all FIRST programs, and more than 500 Ford employees volunteered, impacting more than 60,000 students. The company also developed and sponsors the FIRST Robotics Competition Autonomous Award and sponsors several FIRST Robotics Competition regional and district events, as well as the FIRST Championship.
Students ages 4-18 can participate in FIRST.
Ford is one of more than 20 other companies, including one federal agency, to achieve the top-tier level for sponsorship of FIRST. The strategic partners provide funding, mentorship, volunteerism, equipment, and more.
Ford employs about 190,000 people worldwide.