There were more than fancy, new cars and technologies highlighted at the 2017 North American International Auto Show – so was the announcement that FIRST Robotics World Championships are coming to town in 2018 and staying put for three years.

On Thursday, from the floor of Cobo Hall, Gov. Rick Snyder celebrated the fact that from 2018-2020, Detroit will be hosting the top competition in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM), and bringing students from all over the world and their love of remote-controlled robots to the Motor City.

FIRST Robotics is a national program where high school students use robots to compete for victory, and provides students with the opportunity to build, design and program remote-controlled robots that battle in two-minute games. Hosting the World Competition in Detroit is projected to generate as much as $90 million in economic impact for Michigan.

“As one of Michigan’s leading supporters of FIRST in Michigan, the DTE Energy Foundation is pleased to see this competition come to Detroit, to further showcase the remarkable transformation the City has made,” said Faye Nelson, vice president at DTE Energy, and board chair and president of the DTE Energy Foundation. “We have a strong commitment to helping Michigan and our communities build a strong talent pipeline to ensure that youth have the skills and talents to achieve success.”

Since 2009, the DTE Energy Foundation has supported FIRST in Michigan and by investing almost $375,000 to help strengthen and support its mission to transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated, and young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes.

This year, the Foundation’s support is helping 3,500 middle and high-schools students gain exposure to a variety of professional and soft skills, and grow their interests in STEM-related career pathways. In 2016 the Foundation doubled its investment over 2015 to ensure 13 high-school teams and another 20 middle-school teams can work together, engineer new technology and test their robots (and skills) in head-to-head combat in the Robotics arena.

To help foster this passion and interest, often, students get to work side-by-side with professional engineers while building the robots. DTE Energy has more than 30 employee volunteers dedicated every year to mentoring teams and supporting local events across Michigan.

“Our volunteers dedicate their time, energy and knowledge to fuel student interest in STEM,” said Derek Kirchner, FIRST volunteer lead for DTE Energy. “They are setting the example for these impressionable, young minds and are helping them cultivate an interest and passion that otherwise might not be nurtured.”

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