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Science, Technology, Engineering & Math | News

Texas Workforce Commission Kicks in $760,000 for Student STEM Competition

The Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation has received a $760,000 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission to support 500 new and existing VEX Robotic Competition (VRC) teams, enhance the foundation's volunteer community, and fund a new VRC Texas Online Challenge and VEX Robotics Competition mobile event trailer.

Managed by the REC Foundation, the VEX Robotic Competition comprises more than 400 events that take place year-round and culminates in the VEX Robotic Competition World Championship each April. The competition is designed to provide "students and teams worldwide with hands-on, curriculum-based robotics engineering programs while also engaging them in valuable teamwork and problem-solving experience," according to a foundation news release.

"It is important to inspire the future workforce to become innovators in science and technology," Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar said, in a prepared statement. "This competition encourages students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math endeavors that help them acquire skills for high-demand occupations."

Among the 500 high school teams that will be supported through the grant money, 400 will be new. Collectively, the teams represent approximately 5,000 public and home school students. The mobile event trailer will allow the foundation to take the program to those students in an effort to eliminate time away from home and school and other costs associated with travel.

Following a growth of more than 50 percent in the last year, to 7,300 middle and high school teams, the foundation said it expects the 2013-2014 season to reach more than 100,000 students.

"The REC Foundation is grateful to the Texas Workforce Commission for providing students in Texas access to an affordable, sustainable, and curriculum-based robotics engineering program in the VEX Robotics Competition," said Jason Morrella, REC Foundation president, in a prepared statement. "We share the Texas Workforce Commission's interest in providing more students access to high quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs that will impact their future college and career aspirations, encouraging them to pursue these fields."

For more information about the VEX Robotics Competition, visit vexrobotics.com.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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