Company participation helps promote next generation of Michigan innovators
Submitted by Consumers Energy
A competition of student-built and remote-control operated robots is helping spur interest in and pursuit of future high-demand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers at the FIRST® in Michigan robotics state championships, sponsored by Consumers Energy.
“At Consumers Energy we know how important STEM careers are, because this talent powers many areas of our company,” said LeeRoy Wells Jr., vice president of operations support for Consumers Energy and FIRST in Michigan board member. “Many of our recent STEM hires have prior robotics experience, so we know our support of this competition provides an excellent opportunity to inspire the next generation of Michigan leaders.”
The event is at Saginaw Valley State University’s Ryder Center today through Saturday, April 14, and features 160 high school robotics teams from across Michigan vying to win their matches and advance to compete at the world FIRST Robotics Championship in Detroit April 25-28.
In 2017 the Consumers Energy Foundation contributed more than $425,000 to support STEM programs, including FIRST teams at elementary, middle and high school levels across the state. With help from the foundation, FIRST in Michigan now boasts 500 high school teams, more school robotics teams than any other state.
“FIRST Robotics has grown rapidly at all levels, thanks in large part to the support of Consumers Energy, a company that recognizes the importance of encouraging a new generation of youth to explore all that the STEM has to offer, personally and professionally,” said Gail Alpert, president of FIRST in Michigan. “As we like to say, FIRST is the only varsity sport where every kid can go pro, and Consumers Energy helps nourish that K-12 pipeline that leads right into their company.”
Highlights of the three-day state event include:
Many of the skills and tools needed to perform jobs at Consumers Energy are the same students learn through their FIRST involvement. Examples include:
“Consumers Energy’s mission is to help create sustainable FIRST robotics teams at every school in Michigan, and to cultivate future STEM careers,” Wells said. “We want every interested school and student to be able to participate, from the largest to smallest schools, to those in rural areas and those that are under-resourced.”
About Consumers Energy
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
FIRST – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – was formed in 1989. FIRST has engaged millions of people in a global movement to build problem solvers who transform our world. Each year the FIRST community celebrates young innovators through high-quality, inspiring, life-changing experiences, the culmination of which is the FIRST Championship.
Roger Morgenstern, 616-530-4364, or Terry DeDoes, 517-374-2159
For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.
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Consumers Energy is one of the nation's largest combination utilities, providing electric and natural gas service to nearly 6.6 million of Michigan's 10 million residents, in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
Our Growing Forward strategy calls for investing more than $6 billion in Michigan over the next five years. That includes significant investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, environmental and customer service enhancements, and new power generation.
The investments make Consumers Energy one of the largest investors in Michigan and will help the utility maintain and improve service to customers, create jobs, boost the state’s economy and expand the state’s tax base.
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