FIRST is a not-for-profit public charity that designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills. So, why should electrical distributors get involved with FIRST?
“Supporting an organization like FIRST is a no brainer,” said Jay Platt, CEO of Platt Electric Supply in Beaverton, Ore. “This had to do with creating, building, and designing—and all of those things have to do with our industry.”
The FIRST Family of Programs is composed of the Jr. FIRST Lego League, the FIRST Lego League, the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), and the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC)—which culminates in an annual international robotics competition.
Platt strongly recommends attending a regional event (visit usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/regional-events or download this PDF to find one in your area) and spending time talking to the kids. “Spend one hour walking through the pits and talking to the teams. The kids will blow your socks off,” said Platt. “There’s so much negative news out there about today’s youth, but if you spend just 60 minutes talking to these kids you’ll see there’s really great hope. You’ll find students who were failing academically and socially, but then they got involved with a FIRST team in some capacity and because they had a purpose, it all turned around. Those aren’t the exceptions—those are the norm.”
To learn more about FIRST—and how you can get involved—go to usfirst.org or
contact Jay Platt at 503-526-5810 or Jlplatt@platt.com.