Fiat Chrysler America has given more than $226,000 in grants to 57 robotics teams and programs in Michigan. This means 1,300 middle and high school students will benefit from the grants, which range from $400 to $4,275 and are meant to offset costs of competition registration fees, parts, and team apparel for the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) programs.
FIRST, which stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” is a STEM-building program started in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to encourage young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, according to an FCA press release. FCA has long worked with FIRST to give better opportunities to students in Michigan, where 35,000 FCA employees work.
FRC teams must include at least 25 high school students who raise funds, design a team brand, and build industrial-sized robots for competitions. Middle school FTC teams with 10 or more students operate robots to compete in challenges.
The 2017 FRC season started recently with kickoff events where students could meet other competitors and pick up a kit of parts. Events will run through April, when the championships for both programs will take place.
FCA grants of $1,500 also went to First in Michigan to support its First Lego League program.