The American educational model of today was, in many respects, developed in the 19th century, when the U.S. saw the need to prepare a workforce for the industrial revolution. The foresight to tie education to workforce was instrumental in powering America to become a world leader by creating a pipeline of employees that in turn created great national prosperity.

Today’s workforce needs are driven by digital, mobile computers, robotics and technology. Students from Lake Oswego and Lakeridge high schools understand where the future jobs opportunities lie and are embracing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) studies — by building robots — to prepare for the future.

At Portland’s Memorial Coliseum on Friday and Saturday, the Lake Oswego robotics team will meet with more than 60 teams from Oregon and Southwest Washington in a tournament face-off of 6-foot-tall robots playing competitive Frisbee golf.

This is a big, bright, vibrant, raucous, exciting event that’s free and open to the public. Come join the fun.

Unlike other competitive events where spectators don’t have access to the athletes, at the AutoDesk Oregon FIRST Robotic competition, guests are encouraged to interact directly with these athletes. What better way than robots to get students excited about putting their technology passions and science studies into action?

Education is directly tied to Oregon’s prosperity. Understanding that K-12 is where true workforce development begins, it’s exciting to see Gov. Kitzhaber and our elected officials make STEM education a legislative priority this session. Job forecasting data indicates there will be more than 44,000 computer jobs in Oregon by 2018 that will require a proficiency in computer systems, programming and technical skills. Programs like FIRST help ensure Oregon students will be the ones prepared to fill those jobs.

Please join us Friday and Saturday at Portland’s Memorial Coliseum to be amazed and entertained by Frisbee golf-playing robots and the students who built them.

Learn more about this program and motivate your students.

For more information, visit or

Deb Mumm-Hill, Lake Oswego, is FIRST Pacific NW director.

Contract Publishing

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