Kettering University, Ford partner to host FIRST Robotics districts

Kettering University is hosting double, back-to-back FIRST Robotics district competitions on its campus, bringing more than 80 Mid-Michigan teams to Flint. The Ford Motor Company is sponsoring both competitions.

For the second consecutive year, Kettering University is hosting double, back-to-back FIRST Robotics district competitions on its campus, bringing more than 80 Mid-Michigan teams to Flint this month. The first competition was March 2-4 and the second is March 9-11. This year, the Ford Motor Company has sponsored both competitions.

“We are grateful for Ford’s support for Kettering and for programs like FIRST that serve a critical role in exciting young people about the limitless possibilities that exist through a STEM education and in STEM careers,” said Dr. Robert K. McMahan, Kettering University President. “Michigan has more FIRST teams than any state in the country, and Kettering has become a central hub supporting the growth of FIRST thanks to support from amazing partners like Ford.”

“Ford has the vision of working with key partners to deliver innovative STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) programming to our future leaders,” said Prashant Javkar, Manager of STEAM Strategy & Programs at Ford. “We at Ford really believe that the project-based method of learning combines the best of both worlds, and Kettering University's integrated cooperative education program recognizes that there is as much to learn in a workplace as in a lecture hall. Knowing Kettering’s history of delivering high quality pre-college programs and support for programs like FIRST Robotics, we are happy to support those efforts and ensure they continue to grow and be successful.”

FIRST Robotics is an international organization aimed at inspiring young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build STEM skills, inspire innovation and foster teamwork, self-confidence, collaboration and leadership. This year’s game is called ‘Steamworks.’

Kettering University and Ford have been longtime supporters of FIRST Robotics. This is the 18th consecutive year Kettering has hosted a FIRST district on its campus. Last year, the University became the first site in the country to host back-to-back district tournaments. Kettering was also one of the first universities in the country to award FIRST Robotics scholarships, providing more than $3.8 million in scholarships to FIRST participants since 1999.

The FIRST Robotics Community Center at Kettering University is the only facility of its kind on a college campus in the country. It provides residential space for eight high school teams, hosts visiting teams throughout the year and hosts a range of summer camps that attract participants from all over the US. The facility gives students access to state-of-the-art equipment and mentors and provides them with an immersive experience on the campus of one of the country’s top STEM and Business universities. 

Ford believes that in order to develop innovative products and technologies, there is a need for a workforce skilled in STEAM fields. Ford also believes that supporting STEAM education is about creating opportunities that connect the company and our employees directly with youth and the community. 

This is the second recent Ford and Kettering partnership – a grant provided by Ford in January will allow Kettering to create a summer day camp about electric vehicles for Flint Community Schools students.