Dave Wilson/FIRST in Texas
Texas Expands Its Robotics Education

Texas Expands Its Robotics Education

Sept. 11, 2020
A new grant will bring robotics competitions to underserved high school students.

Understanding that the future workforce will need to be trained in robotics in order to find employment in manufacturing and other industries, two groups are partnering to expand competitive robotics activities for underrepresented high school students.

The Robotics Education & Competition (REC Foundation) has been awarded a nearly $750,000 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission's Texas Youth Robotics Initiative. The funds will be used to bring competitive robotics to rural and Title 1 schools around the state which will impact up to 4,800 high school students who wouldn’t otherwise have access to evidence-based STEM programming.

The grant will assist rural and Title 1 schools in the development of 150 new robotics teams, comprised of students who have not participated in competitive robotics previously, and to sustain 50 existing teams.

Additionally, this grant will focus on inclusion for deaf and hard of hearing students across Texas. The REC Foundation is partnering with the Texas School for the Deaf to expand robotics by creating 25 new teams and holding a signature competition event for the deaf community, next spring in Austin.

The state has a long history, over ten years, of participating in robotic competitions through its FIRST In Texas program. Last year over 36,000 students were involved.

FIRST in Texas is part of the national FIRST  program, which is  an international youth organization that operates the FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST LEGO League Challenge, FIRST LEGO League Explore, FIRST LEGO League Discover, and FIRST Tech Challenge competitions. 

“This investment will offer the opportunity for thousands of students to access science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills,” said Dan Mantz, CEO of the REC Foundation. “It will also help prepare the next generation of innovators to have a rewarding career which will ultimately help enhance Texas’s workforce.”

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