GM Global Manufacturing steps up STEM support for youth
DETROIT--April 23, 2014: Each spring, General Motors employees around the world engage in a program that combines the excitement of a Grand Prix race, the spectacle of Carnival, and the intellectual heft of a TED conference.
That program is the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) and GM, as a Founding Sponsor of FIRST® – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – sponsors or supports hundreds of teams involving thousands of students around the world.
FIRST is one of many programs and activities focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, that GM and its employees support globally. Each year, Global Manufacturing team members from 169 GM facilities in more than 30 countries participate in some 300 local education initiatives as part of the company’s Driving a Better Tomorrow initiative.
“GM places a high priority on education – we are a leader in supporting STEM programs from elementary schools to post-graduate programs around the world,” said Jim DeLuca, executive vice president of GM Global Manufacturing. “Our Global Manufacturing team works with students at all levels to spark their interest in careers that will benefit them.”
Within FIRST, which has four programs for students in grades K-12, GM employees serve as coaches and mentors for children ages 6 to 18. In the fall, the attention is on younger children, as part of the Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) and FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) competitions. During winter and spring, the focus shifts to FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) and the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®), with FRC teams around the world competing in March and April to qualify for the FIRST Championship in St. Louis, Mo., which begins Thursday and runs through Saturday at the Edward Jones Dome.
More than two dozen GM-sponsored teams from around the world will be among the nearly 400 FRC teams cooperating in randomly selected Alliances of robots competing against other three-robot Alliances to earn the right to select their own Alliance partners for a shot at becoming the 2014 FRC champions.
“Employees from numerous companies, including GM, play a critical role in helping mentor FIRST team members around the world,” said FIRST President Don Bossi. “By taking what they experience each day on their jobs, these employees help youth learn and develop engineering and problem-solving skills that can be applied in FIRST competitions and future careers.”
While STEM studies are important, other educational outreach by GM Manufacturing includes literacy and reading programs, environmental awareness and leadership and social skills mentoring. These initiatives often include in-kind donations such as books, supplies and employee volunteer hours. Manufacturing teams from Hungary to Argentina regularly donate engines and vehicles to support training programs in local technical schools. GM facilities in Germany, Mexico and other countries routinely offer students a behind-the-scenes view of the manufacturing world.