Cumby ISD has been named one of nine rural school districts to receive a portion of $685,000 awarded by the Texas Workforce Commission for Collegiate Edu-Nation for Youth Robotics programs, TWC announced Friday morning, August 5, 2022.
The youth robotics programs will launch this month after the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) awarded $2.1 million, allowing thousands of Texas high school students to participate in various events. The Youth Robotics Initiative encourages interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by broadening participation in robotics programs. This program breaks down barriers to participation for students with disabilities through partnerships and collaboration, and teams drawn primarily from schools located in underserved urban and rural communities.
“TWC predicts at least 2.1 million STEM positions in Texas by 2028. Hands-on experience is a critical component to developing STEM job seekers,” said TWC President Bryan Daniel. “TWC’s youth programs are dedicated to developing young Texans into well-prepared industry professionals ready to join the Texas workforce.”
This year, four nominees received awards: FIRST in Texas, REC Foundation, Urban STEM, and Collegiate Edu-Nation.
Collegiate Edu-nation (CEN) has received $685,000 to partner with nine Rural Independent School Districts (ISDs) to establish and support current robotics programs. The nine school districts include Hamlin CISD, Hico ISD, Floydada ISD, Sunray CISD, Spurger ISD, Cumby ISD, Venus ISD, Throckmorton CISD, and Iraan-Sheffield ISD, all located in rural Texas. The dedicated competition offered by CEN will be designed to include all students, including students with disabilities.
FIRST in Texas received $700,000 to serve 5,700 high school students in more than 400 youth robotics teams. FIRST in Texas offers dedicated programs for 500 students with disabilities in partnership with Unified Robotics, Texas School for the Deaf (TSD), Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) and its national affiliate, FIRST, and the University Interscholastic League (UIL), which has aa established Competitive Robotics as a fully recognized official UIL academic program.
“STEM professions continue to grow and evolve, and so do our young people in Texas,” said TWC Commissioner representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “This opportunity helps young minds develop their skills, creates pathways to success in STEM fields, and enhances their professional portfolio – all while having fun in the process.”
The REC Foundation has received $699,665 to provide STEM education to approximately 2,550 students in grades 9-12 in Texas while providing them with a unique opportunity to participate in programs and competitions using the platform VEX Robotics. The REC Foundation will partner with TSD and SOTX to increase STEM education opportunities for students with disabilities, and with TSD will host their first high school level competition for all deaf and hard of hearing teams. This project will also support existing teams through the Texas UIL State Championship.
Urban STEM (USTEM) received $120,506 to enable approximately 2,974 students to participate in educational robotics programs for young people and support their hosted robotics events, Urban STEM Robotics League (USRL). Their latest competition includes new events such as Aerial Robots, Waterbotics and Robofest which incorporate drones and underwater robots.
“We are committed to generating enrichment spaces for STEM fields and expanding the talent pool for our Texas employers,” said TWC Commissioner representing employers Aaron Demerson. “TWC programs like this Texas Youth Robotics Initiative help create our future workforce, while promoting inclusiveness.”
Teams that advance to the State Championship for each program will have the opportunity to advance to the World Championship Arena. Robotics competitions bring together the excitement of sport, science and technology.