Gov. Perry today spoke to more than 1,000 students at the FIRST Robotics Competition, emphasizing the importance of science and technology education as well as competition and motivation.
"More academies and more teachers are essential building blocks, but programs like FIRST help by dialing up the motivation factor," Gov. Perry said. "When young people experience first-hand the challenges of problem-solving and the joy of those 'eureka' moments, they'll better understand that science and technology aren't just stepping stones to a lucrative career but also a proving ground for essential life skills."
The FIRST Robotics Competition is supported by businesses throughout Texas, and immerses students in science and technology through competitions to design, build and program robots using engineering principles and a sports model of teamwork and competition. FIRST was founded to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs, which promote innovation, and foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication and leadership.
"The FIRST Robotics Competition is not just about increasing educational opportunities in science and technology, but also instilling well-rounded life capabilities such as self-confidence, communication and leadership," said Dean Kamen, FIRST founder. "Ten years from today, these students will demonstrate their potential to go out in the world and do something extraordinary to solve a major, global problem."
Last November, Gov. Perry announced a $1 million investment from the Texas Workforce Commission to expand statewide student participation in robotics education programs. Texas has experienced a surge in team growth across the state with participation increasing by 46 teams, the greatest team growth rate in the nation.
Ensuring that Texas remains a leader in job creation depends on the development of our workforce and is imperative to Texas' future prosperity. The governor has proposed a $160 million initiative to expand the number and scope of Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (T-STEM) academies, an initiative he established in 2005, as well as fund STEM scholarships. Building on successful initiatives like T-STEM academies and legislation such as House Bill 3 of the 81st Legislative Session, which holds schools accountable for graduating college- and career-ready students, helps ensure future generations of Texans have the educational foundation necessary to compete and win in the increasingly competitive global economy.