July/August 2010

Automation Federation, ISA build alliance partnership with FIRST

In January, ISA and the Automation Federation (AF) were invited by representatives of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) to take part in the Kick Off of the 2010 FIRST Competition. FIRST is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen. The purpose of FIRST is to "turn young people on" to career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math. 

Each year FIRST offers youth from ages 6 to 18 the opportunity to participate in an international robotics competition and celebration where teams win recognition, gain self confidence, develop people and life skills, make new friends, and perhaps discover an unforeseen career path.

FIRST is seeking institutions and corporations to get involved in something that helps young people today understand that science, technology, engineering, and math are pathways for their futures.

AF applauds the work of FIRST and believes in what FIRST is doing to reach out to our youth and let them know that they can accomplish extraordinary things through science and technology.  It is for this reason that AF has entered into discussions to be an Alliance Partner with FIRST.

As the Voice of Automation, AF is committed to be the catalyst for the development of the next generation of automation professionals.  A key objective to achieve this goal is reaching out to youth with educational and informational resources that emphasizes the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and promoting career pathways in the automation profession.

By being Alliance Partners with FIRST, the AF and ISA have the opportunity to help ignite young minds about the individual worth that each one of them has and the career opportunities that await them in automation and technology.

ISA, through its 30,000 worldwide membership, will play an invaluable role in providing mentors and volunteers that can step forward to share their knowledge of automation and technology with young people that want to learn and achieve a dream to be successful in their lives.

AF/ISA have developed an initial work plan with FIRST in preparation for the completion of the Alliance Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines key objectives to be accomplished initially in 2010 and looking forward to 2011 with plans to recruit new volunteers, mentors, and sponsors, establish new teams, and promote the work of FIRST through the ongoing Workforce Development Initiatives of both organizations.  AF and ISA fully expect this Alliance with FIRST to be a long-term commitment that will be beneficial to all involved.

The Alliance MOU with FIRST will be completed soon. Plans are already underway to include FIRST in the Automation Career Day event being planned by AF for the final day of ISA Automation Week scheduled for 8 October in Houston.  Over 1,000 high-school students from 14 area high schools will be attending this event.  At that time, these students will have the opportunity to see FIRST robots in action and to learn how they can participate in FIRST.

"I am pleased that ISA has joined the Automation Federation to be an Alliance Partner with FIRST.  This Alliance gives ISA members the opportunity to reach out to youth around the world and share our member's knowledge and passion for the profession that has been good to all of us and gives us the opportunity to mentor future automation professionals," said ISA President Nelson Ninin.

Jerry Cockrell, chairman of the Automation Federation, added, "With this forthcoming Alliance with FIRST, the Automation Federation adds our organization's voice and resources with so many other outstanding organizations that have stepped forward to reach out to our youth and inspire them to be our future science and technology professionals."

In the coming months, AF and ISA will bring information on how you can personally get involved with FIRST.  We hope you will take advantage of these opportunities.

For more information regarding the AF/ISA Alliance Partnership with FIRST, please contact Mike Marlowe at mmarlowe@automationfederation.org or Jennifer Infantino at jinfantino@isa.org.