Merkley Stresses Importance of Innovation, Science and Technology Education to Oregon Jobs

Portland, OR –
Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today visited the Cleveland and Franklin High Schools FIRST robotics teams as they put the finishing touches on their robots before sending them off to the Oregon Regional Championship.  The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) programs engage Oregon’s youth in developing knowledge and skills in math, sciences, and technology. 

“Back when I was in high school, I loved math and science,” said Merkley.  “It was a real pleasure to watch Portland students in action today creating cutting edge technologies and building mind-blowing robots.  It goes to show that if we give our students the tools needed to push their imaginations to the limit, they will deliver.  We must make greater investments in science and technology education, and challenge our students to become the innovative entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”

“FIRST Robotics gets students excited about technology, discovery, professionalism and teamwork,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, Senior Vice President, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. “We need scientists and engineers here in Oregon to compete in today’s worldwide market. FIRST gives kids real-world skills that are key to creating Oregon’s future leaders and innovators, a stronger economy and a more competitive workforce.”

Today marks the last day Oregon students can work on their robots before they are shipped to the Oregon Regional competition.  FIRST was founded in 1989 and is a national non-profit organization devoted to engaging America’s youth in math, science, and technology education.  The annual robotics competition is the yearly culmination of FIRST’s programs to put students on the path to careers in science and technology.