BC grants $250K to FIRST Robotics BC for STEM education

Tuesday May 21, 2019
Written by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
May 21, 2019 – The government of British Columbia has awarded a one-time, $250,000 grant to FIRST Robotics BC, to help students with a passion for robotics to develop their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills and explore career opportunities.

Benefits to students include increased access to post-secondary training as a result of government’s investment in 2,900 tech-related spaces. These spaces are expected to result in 1,000 additional graduates per year by 2023.

"This funding is part of our government’s work to invest in services that help give kids around the province the skills they need to succeed,” says Premier John Horgan in a release. "The STEM fields are growing exponentially in B.C., and I’m proud that students like the Reynolds Reybots will be prepared to meet these exciting new opportunities and help build a sustainable, low-carbon economy.”

Hundreds more students will now have the opportunity to participate in robotics programs throughout the province. Students who have participated in these programs have gone on to establish good-paying careers in engineering, have started their own tech companies and are working at some of the largest tech companies in the world, such as Microsoft, Google, HP, Intel and Honeywell.

Five B.C. secondary school robotics teams have already benefited from this funding as they recently participated in the 2019 FIRST Championship in Houston, Texas on April 17-20. Teams that travelled to Texas included Reynolds Secondary in Victoria, North Surrey Secondary, L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, West Vancouver Secondary and J.N. Burnett Secondary in Richmond. Each team received $5,000 toward its competition fees.

FIRST Robotics BC will use this funding to expand teacher development, enhance curriculum resources, explore state-of-the-art robotics materials and hire more FIRST Robotics staff to mentor students throughout the province. These funds will also help grow FIRST Robotics programming by more than 600 students this year, from 1,170 participants in 2018 to 1,795 participants in 2019.

FIRST Robotics BC was launched with the help of funding partners Microsoft, FIRST Robotics Canada and GSL Holdings, to attract and develop the next generation of STEM leaders. First Robotics visits schools and meets with officials to encourage participation in robotics and supports teams with a range of materials and software to build robots.

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