Our flagship education program at PTC is FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), www.usfirst.org , a program used throughout the US and abroad to inspire kids to engage in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Every year, more than 150,000 students, kindergarten to 12th grade, work in teams to participate in design challenges using Legos or, for those in high school, building operational robots. The teams work with mentors, coaches, volunteers … and PTC software.
This year, more than 1,000 FIRST teams (out of a possible 4,500 FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition teams ) will use Creo, Mathcad and Windchill to design, build, compete and iterate with their robot design. Besides supplying the software, we also sponsor teams and regional events, fund scholarships, and provide training materials.
PTC has also partnered with FIRST to bring FIRST overseas. PTC employees in China, India, Romania, France, Germany, Singapore and the Netherlands have been very supportive of bringing this to their country.
It’s a good fit for us, especially when you look at our Global Education Program. John Stuart, SVP, says in that program we look for opportunities that provide “shared value.” That is, “where everyone involved in our initiative benefits by participating–employers, schools, and students.”
- Employers. Employers, particularly PTC customers, get value from the program as former FIRST students start their first job already skilled in PTC design and engineering software. That’s especially important now as analysts are predicting severe shortages in technology and science graduate in coming years.
- Schools. The thousands of schools participating in FIRST benefit from better opportunities that come with professional software and training.
- Students. FIRST brings value to students by engaging them in STEM. In fact, kids who participate in FIRST are 50% more likely to attend college and twice as likely to major in science or engineering compared to similar students who did not take part in FIRST.
We benefit too. Officially, we’ve sponsored FIRST activities since 2007, growing from no teams to over 1,000 teams using PTC software in just four years! But for years before that our employees have been enthusiastic mentors and coaches for FIRST teams. Why? Simply because there is a lot of joy in watching young people first experience the rapture that brought us all to this field so many years ago.
As a result of PTC’s overall contribution to FIRST, it was announced in April at the FIRST World Championship, that PTC would be elevated to the top partnership level at FIRST “Strategic”.
Learn more about FIRST here. If you prefer to hear about it from celebrities and world leaders, play the video: