MTI Systems, Inc. announced its support to the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics club, “MIGHTY Mechanics” (Agawam, MA) – striving to help inspire students interest towards a manufacturing career.
“Selecting a career, as we all know, is never an easy process,” remarks Thomas Charkiewicz, president of MTI Systems. “We are pleased to help young people experience real-life manufacturing while helping them afford more high-tech opportunities through programs such as FIRST Tech Challenge robotics.”
Since 1992, FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has been inspiring young people to be science and technology leaders. FIRST programs, range from kindergarten to high school. MIGHTY Mechanics is part of the First Tech challenge (FTC) program designed for students in grades 7-12 where their robot competes using a sports model.
Teams, assisted by coaches, mentors, and volunteers, are responsible for developing strategies to design, build, and program their robots to compete in an alliance format with and against other teams. Awards are presented for success from the robots competition, as well as for community outreach, design, and other real-world accomplishments. For instance, MIGHTY Mechanics received the “Think Award” during their first tournament in Lexington, MA - which granted them entry into the state competition.
Joining forces to support manufacturing initiatives through FIRST programs continues to grow amongst manufacturers worldwide. These programs have been successfully encouraging career-minded students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and manufacturing. MTI Systems, Inc., is eager and proud to participate with these manufacturing initiatives - especially when the company can see direct results from their contribution.
“Our manufacturing customers still see a declining pool of adequately skilled job candidates,” states Charkiewicz. “So when local manufacturers participate and report successful hiring -- we know assuredly our contribution is directed at a great cause.”
Encompassing more than just an interest in building the robots, in 2014, these programs provide almost 900 individual scholarship opportunities with a total value of more than $19 million. There are also opportunities for manufacturing-based internships. For instance, UTC (United Technologies Corporation) offers opportunities to work in areas such as Aerospace, Fire Protection, Industrial, Manufacturing / Process / Quality, Material Science, and Mechanical Systems. The NASA Robotics Academy, offers a 10-week resident internship during the summer for students specifically interested in robotics. Additionally, another local manufacturer, G & L Tool Company, not only offers club field trips for students to directly manufacture robot parts on their machining work centers, they have hired participating students upon graduation from high school.
“Helping our children learn about manufacturing early in their life,” remarks Dave Smith, production manager of G&L Tool, “is one sure way to help some of them find their way. Fortunately for us, some of them actually became our employees!”