ATLANTA, Ga. — Siemens Industry Inc. and its Industry Automation Division has partnered with the non-profit FIRST in Michigan to support its goal of creating a world where science and technology are celebrated.

Siemens (NYSE: SI) is actively supporting the FIRST Robotics Competition, where teams representing public, private and home schools from 16 statewide districts build remote-controlled robots, going head-to-head in a series of games with competitors.  Teams are mentored with ongoing and hands-on training in science and technology by engineers from companies like Siemens, who work side-by-side with students.

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Robotics teams from across Michigan will compete in district finals throughout March, with the FRC State Championship being held in at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti April 12-14. The public is encouraged to attend the free event, where robots battle it out in a competitive arena and fans cheer on their favorite teams and robots.

FIRST in Michigan was started in 1993, and since that time, more than 40,000 students and 1,800 teams have participated in the program. Students involved in the program are eligible for more than $14 million in FIRST scholarships from colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. The goal of FIRST in Michigan is to establish a FIRST Robotics Competition team at every high school in the state.

“Siemens annually invests millions of dollars in upgrading its manufacturing plants across the nation and in research and development initiatives that better position us as a leader in industrial productivity, energy efficiency and automation,” said Raj Batra, president of Siemens Industry Automation Division.  “Yet, our most rewarding and fruitful investment comes through the development of our next generation of engineers, through mentoring programs, like FIRST in Michigan, that encourage and excite today’s youth about the fields of science, engineering, mathematics and technology.”

Batra encourages all companies, whether big or small, to get involved in the FIRST in Michigan program.

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“Michigan ranks third in producing engineers, and is one of the top four states for tech workers, as well as being a leader in advanced manufacturing,” Batra said. “The state is home to more than 20 Fortune 500 companies, so involvement from teams, sponsors, educators, mentors, foundations and government will only contribute to future success.”

According to Richard Laramee, vice president and general manager of Electro-Matic Products Inc., a Farmington Hills-based provider of industrial automation products and services and first-year sponsor of FIRST in Michigan, the company plans to leverage its sponsorship to build relationships with students interested in the field of engineering.

“We are planning on hosting an industrial automation event at Ford Field that will introduce FIRST contestants to our automation products, giving them a hands-on opportunity to learn more how vast the field of industrial automation is,” Laramee said.

At the State Championship, 18 teams from Michigan will qualify to compete in the FIRST World Championships, April 25-28 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo.

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