100 new robotics teams to launch via MCC, REC partnership

Grants will be awarded on a first-come basis and the deadline to apply is Wednesday, December 20. There is no limit to the number of members on a team.

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MCC VEX Robots
Victoria Segura Ventura, Faith Soto, Gifty Freeman, and Jenicka Ayala of Northwest Elementary play robot soccer with VEX IQ robots as part of a full day in class field trip. Courtesy Photo

MANCHESTER, NHManchester Community College (MCC) and the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation have partnered to fund, launch and nurture 100 new youth robotics teams in New Hampshire. Sparked by the overwhelming demand for team member and mentor training and more requests than previous funding could accommodate, this new grant creates opportunities for budding engineers and scientists to interact with robots as individuals learn about engineering and design.

“The increasing demand for robotics programs is a good sign because it indicates that young scientists are interested in engineering and design, which are critical skills for the current and future workforce,” said Dan Larochelle, department chair for MCC’s advanced manufacturing technology and robotics programs who coordinated the new partnership. “The goal is to get more kids playing with robots because building them and competing with them bring technical and social skills together in very positive and productive ways.”

The funding will support 75 elementary and middle school-level teams at $500 and 25 high school-level teams at $1,200 each. However, the funding is accessible not only to academic groups, but also other organizations such as Girl Scout troops, homeschool students, and community-based teams. Grants will be awarded on a first-come basis and the deadline to apply is Wednesday, December 20. There is no limit to the number of members on a team.

In addition to the financial contribution, MCC will hold training, professional development, and rookie events to help new teams get up and running, while the REC Foundation will host three robotics competitions: VEX IQ Challenge; VEX Robotics Competition; and VEX U.

“The REC Foundation is thrilled to support growing student interest in robotics engineering in New Hampshire with 100 new VEX Robotics Competition team grants,” said REC Foundation CEO Dan Mantz. “Through the VEX Robotics Competition, students are able to design, build, and program a robot for competition learning valuable teamwork and collaboration skills that prepare them for future careers in the STEM fields. These are exactly the type of workforce readiness skills that New Hampshire students need to prepare them for the future.”

To apply for a robotic start grant, visit robotevents.com/grants. Once a new team is formed, members receive a kit with all the components needed to build a robot and get started. Elementary and Middle school-level groups participate in the VEX IQ Challenge and high school-level teams must compete in the VEX Robotics Competition. MCC is hosting a VEX Robotics rookie team workshop on Saturday, January 6 at MCC to help teams build their first robot, learn simple programming and competition rules.

To learn more about the robotic starter grant partnership between MCC and the REC Foundation, or to contribute funding to support the program, please contact Dan Larochelle at dlarochelle@ccsnh.edu.


About Manchester Community College

Manchester Community College is part of the Community College System of New Hampshire, and offers more than 60 associate degree and certificate programs for transfer and career training. Associate degree programs include advanced manufacturing, allied health, automotive technologies, business studies, computer science, education, electrical technology, HVAC, liberal arts and sciences, and welding. MCC also offers professional and workforce development, and customized corporate training. MCC is committed to working with businesses throughout the state to train and retain employees to develop a robust workforce across all sectors and embraces the “65 by 25 Initiative,” which calls for 65% of NH citizens to have some form of post-secondary education by 2025 to meet future workforce demands. For more information, visit www.mccnh.edu/wdc.

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Manchester Community College