FIRST, Automation Federation, and ISA Promote STEM Education | Automation.com

FIRST, Automation Federation, and ISA Promote STEM Education

October 3, 2010 - The Automation Federation (AF) announced that FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has formed a global strategic alliance with AF and the International Society of Automation (ISA) to promote the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for students in kindergarten through high school (K-12).

AF has positioned itself as the catalyst for building the Next Generation of Automation Professionals through its workforce development initiative. One component of that initiative is K–12 education. The strategic alliance with FIRST will serve to enhance and accelerate that effort with a U.S.-based pilot program designed to encourage STEM education for K–12 students through increased after-school participation in FIRST robotics programs.

The goal of the FIRST-AF-ISA pilot program is to increase the number of young people, teams, and volunteers participating in all of FIRST’s robotics initiatives and programs. To bring about this increased participation, these organizations will combine their resources and collaborate on efforts to promote the importance of K–12 STEM education and the value of participating on a FIRST robotics team to students, teachers, parents, and automation professionals.

This pilot program will provide the automation professionals that comprise the Automation Federation member organizations, including members of ISA, across the US, with the resources and support they need to effectively build local collaboration for FIRST events in their geographic areas. These volunteers will be matched to FIRST affiliate and operational partners and provided with resources to assist their volunteer efforts, including instructional materials, guidelines for starting robotics teams, and marketing support. In addition, these volunteers will be recognized for their volunteer efforts through an Earned Recognition program.

“The importance of pairing our students with an engaged and accomplished group of engineering and automation professionals cannot be underestimated,” said Dean Kamen, FIRST founder and CEO of DEKA Research & Development. “Our students will get the opportunity to work with professionals whose work reflects the typical challenges and creative rigor that is at the heart of our program. I applaud the efforts of the Automation Federation and ISA to tap the resources of our FIRST students as a means of raising awareness of STEM.”

"The Automation Federation takes great pride in forming a strategic alliance with FIRST,” said Jerry Cockrell, 2010 Automation Federation chair. “Our two organizations share the common goal of increasing awareness of the importance of automation and engineering among young people through the promotion of science, technology, engineering, and math education. Through this alliance, we hope to build the Next Generation of Automation Professionals."

"ISA is pleased to join the Automation Federation and FIRST in our combined effort to excite young people in grades K through 12 about the power they have to enrich their own lives and to make a difference in the future of our world through science, technology, engineering, and math,” added Nelson Ninin, 2010 ISA president. “Our members are stepping forward to play an important role in promoting the efforts of FIRST."

“This strategic alignment elevates our students for continuing their success in automation technology,” said Jon Dudas, president of FIRST. “There is a tremendous fit between our respective organizations. FIRST students and the automation professionals of AF/ISA speak a common language. This collective intelligence will no doubt play a key role in taking automation technology to the next level and improving our standard of living worldwide.”

About FIRST
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, NH, FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and $14 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) for high-school students, FIRST LEGO League (FLL ) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S. and Canada) and Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) for 6 to 9-year-olds. Gracious Professionalism™ is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.

About ISA
Founded in 1945, the International Society of Automation is a leading, global, nonprofit organization that is setting the standard for automation by helping over 30,000 worldwide members and other professionals solve difficult technical problems, while enhancing their leadership and personal career capabilities. Based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, ISA develops standards, certifies industry professionals, provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles, and hosts conferences and exhibitions for automation professionals. ISA is the founding sponsor of the Automation Federation.

About the Automation Federation
The Automation Federation is a global umbrella organization under which member associations and societies engaged in manufacturing and process automation activities can work more effectively to fulfill their missions, advance the science and engineering of automation technologies and applications and develop the workforce needed to capitalize on the benefits of automation. The Automation Federation is working to become the “Voice of Automation.”

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